Rafael Nadal has downplayed concerns ahead of the upcoming US Open despite losing at the Cincinnati Open on Wednesday.
The Spaniard lost 7: 6 (9), 4: 6, 6: 3 to Borna Coric on his return after a six-week injury break.
Nadal, who will be seeking a record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows, had not played a competitive game since dropping out of his Wimbledon semi-final against Nick Kyrgios in early July with a stomach injury.
The 36-year-old also withdrew from last week’s ATP Masters event in Montreal due to the issue, but didn’t appear to be hampered by it, against former world No. 12 Coric, instead attributing his defeat to a lack of time on the place back.
“Obviously I didn’t play my best match, that can happen,” said Nadal. “So coming back from a difficult time, something that’s easy to accept and easy to congratulate Borna for playing better.
“I need to improve. I need to practice. I need to come back better. I need days and that’s the truth. It’s obvious that today I wasn’t ready enough to win the match.
“(It) was a difficult injury to manage. The last month and a half has not been easy.”
New York has been a happy hunting ground for Nadal, who has won the title four times, most recently in 2019.
He will undergo tests to confirm all is well with the injury, which he said has still left doubts in his mind during his service movement.
“I’m positive,” he added. “In terms of training, I have to start being in a Grand Slam mode and practice the way I have to practice from the start to be competitive and I hope I can do that.
“I have to go forward and just start thinking about the energy that the New York audience is giving me. I know it’s a very special place for me and I enjoy having unforgettable moments there and I’ll do my best every day to be ready for that.”
The US Open begins on August 29th.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/tennis/rafael-nadal-us-open-2022-b2147481.html Despite the defeat in Cincinnati, Rafael Nadal downplays concerns about the US Open