The Rafa Nadal reappearance, at the Abu Dhabi exhibition after more than four months standing, was settled with two defeats. Friday in front of Andy murray and today in the match for third place against Denis Shapovalov 6-7 (4), 6-3 and 10-6 in the final super tie-break. The objective of filming was fulfilled. The one to end with a good taste in the mouth with a triumph, no.
“It was too hard after such a long time. But I have spent four hours on the court in two days against great players and on Thursday I played another game against Rublev”, expressed the now 35-year-old world six, indicating that he had come to the Mubadala World Tennis Championship to check the condition of his left foot, affected by the chronic injury of the Müller-Weiss syndrome that has caused him pain since the beginning of his career. At The last section was doubtful in the supports, with precautions.
Nadal started the first break set down. At first, a slap that made the afternoon uphill. The Canadian, armored with his service and trusting his actions to a shot, advanced firmly to 5-4 and served. Then, the Spanish scrambled to get the counterbreak and take the partial to the tiebreaker, where he was more serene. That version of Nadal that does not flow, but wins games.
Shapovalov (22 years old and 14th in the ranking) is a volcanic talent, who still takes a rest below his legs to finish off with a great rise to the net with a parallel backhand (he did it in the fourth game) as he fails points sung at times complicated.
Nadal managed to get more rhythm in the first part of the second set, but Shapovalov was generating break opportunities until materializing one for 5-3, serving and achieving the equalizer. The party had to be decided in a super tie-break that had no color. Rafa was never in a position to dominate him.
Now, Nadal will have to evaluate if the test has been positive and can travel to Australia without risking a relapse in his foot. It is aimed at Melbourne ATP from January 4 and later, at the same venue, he would face the Australian Open in which he would seek his 21st Grand Slam. There is time, if the joint responds, to finish the shoot and for the victories to return as well.