‘Rafael Nadal was injured but still played with Roger Federer,’ says WTA legend

Rafael Nadal is still recovering from an abdominal injury experienced in July at Wimbledon. Nadal made early losses in Cincinnati and the US Open, missing a chance to become world no. 1. Nadal made a little break after the US Open and was back in action on Friday at the Laver Cup.

Rafa traveled to London to compete alongside Roger Federer in the Swiss’ last career match. Two legends faced Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe and wasted a match point in a 4-6, 7-6, 11-9 loss in two hours and 13 minutes. Martina Navratilova praised Rafa for his effort of going to London and playing a match despite not being at his best physically.

The Spaniard was the worst player on the court regarding serving, which was expected after his ongoing abdominal issues. Nadal did not stay in London for too long, heading back home to Mallorca the following morning to be with his wife.

Both teams served well to reach 4-4 before Rafa faced a break point in game nine. Federer saved it, and he and Rafa broke Frances a few minutes later to clinch the opener 6-4 in 42 minutes. The Spaniard lost serve at 1-1 in the second set, and he and Roger pulled it back after Frances’ double fault in game six.

Rafa was in trouble again at 5-5, facing no less than six break points.

Martina Navratilova praised Rafael Nadal.

Team Europe saved them and wrapped it up with a service winner for a massive boost. Jack and Frances claimed the tie break 7-2 to stay in contention and improve their chances.

Nadal took charge at the start of the match tie break before the red squad rattled off four straight points. The legends fought back to 8-8 and earned a match point. Roger failed to seize it on his serve, and Frances fired a return winner for their first match point.

Sock landed a forehand down the line winner to push his team over the top and send Roger into a well-deserved retirement. “I had no idea Rafa was struggling with his stomach muscle tear. The service toss was lower at the US Open, but it looked more like protecting the stomach muscle rather than still being affected by it. It’s amazing he still played, bravo Rafa! And yes, he was nervous, understandably so,” Martina Navratilova said.

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