‘I had to make a tough decision, as I could not play at my best’

Rafael Nadal: 'I had to make a tough decision, as I could not play at my best'

Rafael Nadal claimed back-to-back titles in Canada in 2018 and 2019, playing on a high level in Toronto and Montreal and hoping for another strong run this week. Nonetheless, the Spaniard had to withdraw from the season’s fifth Masters 1000 event due to an ongoing foot injury, unable to play at his best and fight for the sixth crown at this prestigious event.

Rafa came to Toronto after a short Washington campaign, training for a couple of days but deciding to skip the event before facing Lloyd Harris in the second round on Wednesday. Nadal felt the pain during the Roland Garros semi-final against Novak Djokovic, losing that epic clash after over four hours and staying away from the practice court for three weeks.

The Spaniard skipped Wimbledon and the Olympic Games and decided to test his game and give it a go in Washington last week. In his fi8rst match in over a month and a half, Rafa beat Jack Sock in his Citi Open debut after three hours, struggling but crossing the finish line before the American in the deciding tie break.

On the next day, Nadal felt better on the court but experienced a 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 defeat to Lloyd Harris in two hours and ten minutes. The Spaniard did not play bad, but it was not enough to carry him home after losing ground in the pivotal moments.

Rafael Nadal had to withdraw from the Canada Open due to a foot injury.

The South African was the more aggressive player, making a good start and recovering from the slow second set to stun the 20-time Major winner and earn his career-best victory.

Lloyd broke Rafa in game seven in the opening set and saved a break point at 5-4 to gain momentum. Nadal raised his level in set number two and clinched breaks in games four and six to become a favorite ahead of the decider.

In the match’s pivotal moment, Harris saved two break chances at the beginning of the final set and another at 2-2 with a powerful serve. Returning at 5-4, the South African placed a perfect lob winner to steal Nadal’s serve and seal the deal in the career’s most notable victory.

“I have had troubles for a couple of months. It’s not an ideal situation after everything I have achieved in Canada; we had to skip the event last year, and I can not compete this week. It was a tough decision, but that’s how things stand.

The most important for me is to enjoy tennis. That’s not possible at the moment due to the pain, and I can not achieve things that I came for to Canada,” Rafael Nadal said.

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