Rafael Nadal is still recovering from the stomach ailment he suffered at Wimbledon in July. Nadal suffered early losses in Cincinnati and the US Open, missing out on a chance to become world no. 1. Nadal took a short break after the US Open and returned to action on Friday at the Laver Cup.
Rafa heads to London to compete against Roger Federer in the Swiss final. Two wrestlers squandered a match point against Jack Sock and Francis Tiafon in a 4-6, 7-6, 11-9 loss in two hours and 13 minutes. Martina Navratilova went to London to play a match and praised Rafa for his efforts, despite his lack of fitness.
The Spaniard was the worst player on the court when it came to serving after his stomach injury. Nadal didn’t stay long in London, heading home to Mallorca the next morning to be with his wife.
Both teams served well to make it 4-4 before Rafa earned a break point in game 9. Federer saved and he and Rafa broke Francis a few minutes later to win 6-4 in 42 minutes. The Spaniard was tied at 1-1 in the second set and he and Roger pulled out after a six-game French foul.
Rafa is in trouble again at 5-5, facing no fewer than six break points.
Martina Navratilova praises Rafael Nadal.
Team Europe came to their rescue and wrapped it up with a service winner for a big boost. Jack and Francis won the final 7-2 to stay in contention and improve their scoring chances.
Nadal took charge early in the final break of the match before the Red team reeled off four straight points. The Legends battled back to 8-8 and earned match point. Roger couldn’t find it on his serve and Francis fired a return winner for the first match point.
Sock landed a forehand down the line winner to push the team over and send Roger to a well-deserved retirement. “I didn’t know that Rafa was struggling with an abdominal muscle tear. His service throw was low at the US Open, but it seems to be prevention rather than an injury to the abdominal muscle. It’s amazing that he’s still playing, bravo Rafa! And yes, he was scared, it’s understandable,” said Martina Navratilova.