Rafael Nadal positive about US Open prospects despite defeat in Cincinnati

·2-min read

Rafael Nadal spoke positively about his US Open prospects despite losing his first match since Wimbledon to Borna Coric at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati.

The 22-time grand slam champion is back on tour after recovering from the abdominal muscle tear that forced him to pull out ahead of the Wimbledon semi-finals.

Nadal will go into the year’s final grand slam undercooked, though, after a 7-6 (9) 4-6 6-3 defeat by Croatian Coric, who is himself working his way back from long-term injury troubles.

Nadal, who won the first two grand slams of the year to move ahead in the all-time standings, will play in New York for the first time since 2019, when he won his fourth title there.

The Spaniard said: “I’m probably going to do some tests after here to confirm that everything stays the way that we want. I am positive. I was able to have a week of practice here, trying my best every single day, practising much better than the way that I played today, honestly.

“Of course it’s better to win but, at the same time, there remains one week and a half for me before New York. I am sad to not play well here, this tournament is important, but I have to move forward mentally.

“In terms of practice, I need to start to be in a grand slam mode, practising the way that I need to practise to be competitive since the beginning there, and I hope I will be able to make that happen.”

Coric, a former world number 12, was sidelined for more than a year after shoulder surgery so a third career victory over Nadal was a huge moment.

The 25-year-old said: “I was out for the last two years. I didn’t play on the big stage and in front of a crowd. I was honestly just looking forward to playing this match. Now obviously that I have won, it’s just kind of crazy.”