Rafael Nadal injured himself on the bridge of his nose with his own racket when he bounced off the court after a shot, leaving himself bloodied and dizzy during his second round victory at the US Open.
Play was delayed by nearly five minutes during a medical timeout in the fourth set for what would become a 2-6 6-4 6-2 6-1 victory over Fabio Fognini at Arthur Ashe Stadium in the match that began on Thursday. night and ended after midnight on Friday.
It created a strange and frightening scene for a brief period, where Nadal immediately frowns, drops his racket, puts his palm to his face, and then puts his hands on his head. At least Nadal could joke about it afterwards during his court appearance.
When asked if this has happened before, he mustered a chuckle and replied, “With a golf putter but not with a tennis racket.”
How was he feeling? “Well, I got a little dizzy at first,” said Nadal, who has won four of his 22 Grand Slam titles at the US Open, most recently in 2019, the last time he competed in a hard court. “It hurts a little.”
The episode came at the first point of the game as Nadal led 3-0 in the fourth set and clearly commanded after ceding the opening set for the second consecutive game this week.
The 36-year-old was moving to his right when he was hit by a backhand. After contact with the ball, his racket deflected off the ground and hit him on the nose.
He went to the side line and lay down, waiting for the coach, and Fognini went to check on Nadal. After putting a bandage on his nose, Nadal resumed playing. He will lose that match, but not another, as he will improve to 21-0 at the Grand Slam matches in 2022.
“Prone to fits of apathy. Introvert. Award-winning internet evangelist. Extreme beer expert.”