Monday, Nov 28, 2022

French Open 2022: It Was 'Very Tough' Seeing Alexander Zverev Cry In Pain, Says Rafael Nadal

Alexander Zverev twisted his right ankle while chasing a ball against Rafael Nadal during their French Open semi-final.

Rafael Nadal walks back as Alexander Zverev is being helped to sit on a wheelchair during their French Open semi-final match.
Rafael Nadal walks back as Alexander Zverev is being helped to sit on a wheelchair during their French Open semi-final match. AP Photo

It was shaping up to be a classic tennis match. But French Open 2022, men's singles semi-final between Rafael Nadal and Alexander Zverev ended abruptly on Friday after three hours and seven minutes with the German twisting his right ankle. (More Tennis News)

Bidding a record-extending 14th title on the Parisian clay, Rafael Nadal was leading the match 7-6 (10-8), 6-6 when Zverev retired hurt. The first set lasted one hour and 33 minutes, and the second was already past that mark. A win in the second tie-breaker for the third seed at Roland Garros would have levelled things up. But it was not to be.

Alexander Zverev tumbled behind the baseline while chasing a ball to his right on the final point of the 12th game of the second set. He cried in pain even as worried match officials and Rafael Nadal rushed to his side. A trainer came out to attend to him, and then he was taken off the court in a wheelchair.

Several minutes later, 25-year-old Zverev returned using crutches and said he needed to retire from the match. He shook the chair umpire's hand and then hugged Nadal. That's how the match ended, leaving everyone heartbroken.

Watch the highlights here:

Later, Rafael Nadal said that he went to see Zverev in the locker room. The 21-time Grand Slam champion also revealed that Zverev had undergone an ultrasound scan to check his ankle.

"It has been a super-tough match, over three hours and we didn't even finish the second set," Nadal said. "So it’s one of the biggest challenges on the tour today when he’s playing at this super high level.

"Difficult to say a lot of things today in this situation. Of course, as everybody knows, to be in the final of Roland Garros one more time is a dream, without a doubt. But at the same time, to finish that way ... I have been there in the small room with Sascha [Zverev] before we came back on court. To see him crying there, it’s a very tough moment, so all the best to him."

Nadal will take on Casper Ruud of Norway, who defeated former US Champion Marin Cilic in four sets, in a match that was interrupted by a climate activist.

Ruud, 23, has shown clay-court mastery with seven titles and 66 match wins since 2020. But the final will be his biggest match, against his idol. Ruud has trained at Nadal's tennis academy in Spain.

If 36-year-old Nadal wins, he will become the oldest champion at French Open.

The Spaniard has been dealing with chronic pain in his left foot.


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