Nadal Retires In Aussie Open Match Against Murray

↵After fireworks painted the sky for more than ten minutes during the second set, and fireworks on the court pleased fans watching two of the best tennis players in the world battle for two sets, Rafael Nadal was forced to retire from his Australian Open match against Andy Murray early in the third. Nadal, who missed a great deal of time to injury in recent years, was down three games to love in the third set and couldn’t go any further, putting Murray into the semifinals. ↵

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↵This wasn't a guy who was quitting on a match he realized he couldn't win. Nadal did legitimately tweak his leg and simply couldn't run to the ball. Rather than stand through another three games and risk further injury, Rafa called it a night. Now, the extent of the injury is unknown, and had Nadal won the second-set tiebreaker, it's unclear if an injury of this nature would have precluded him from continuing, but with the situation in the match, it seems Nadal made the prudent move. ↵

↵During post-match reaction, Patrick McEnroe and Chris Fowler had some sobering thoughts on the injury to Nadal: ↵

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↵⇥McEnroe: "This is a major problem, because one of the questions I always get is how long can this guy Nadal last? He puts so much wear and tear on the body, is he going to be able to continue to do it? And unfortunately, this comes up again and that question is just going to continue. ↵⇥

↵⇥"The next couple of months are mostly all hard-court events and that’s obviously very difficult for him, and you want him to be able to get himself healthy and obviously play those big events, but also be ready for the clay, which is a little easier on his body, generally. And then, of course, the grass as well." ↵⇥

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↵⇥Fowler: "He's not 24 years old until June, but it's an old 24 in tennis terms because he's played so many matches and the way he plays exacts such a toll on his body." ↵⇥

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↵⇥McEnroe: "You hope that maybe he just tweaked it a little bit and he can get some rest and it will be okay in a couple of weeks. Obviously that's what we all hope. But right now I can only imagine, sort of the fear he has – the fear that all of us have in the tennis world – that this guy's not going to be able to play into his mid-late 20s. And he has to be thinking about that, and that must be an awful feeling for him." ↵⇥

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↵Again, it's not known if this was just a small twinge that Nadal didn't want to risk, or if this is something that could linger the entire season and keep him out of major championships throughout 2010. And, as McEnroe suggests, could the rash of injuries have a cumulative effect on Nadal's career? Could we be talking about a different kind of early retirement at some point? ↵

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↵Oh, and as for the fireworks in the sky? It's Australia Day, so the display caused a 10-minute break in the action. Here's the video, as ESPN stayed on the air the entire time. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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