The Spaniard came from behind against Fabio Fognini but nearly collapsed at Flushing Meadows
Rafael Nadal once again did it the hard way by coming back from a set behind and injuring himself in a bizarre racket incident before advancing to the third round of the US Open on Thursday night.
The all-time great dropped the first set 6-2 to Fabio Fognini in just 34 minutes at Flushing Meadows and led the second set 4-2 until a rally call from his box and coach Carlos Moya of “Come on, Rafa” forced him to put his house in order.
Eventually taking the second set 6-4, he gave his Italian rival no time to breathe as he led 2-1 in sets winning the third 6-2.
The 36-year-old was then sailing 3-0 down in the fourth set when he shocked the fans and himself with a freak accident.
Sliding across the hard New York court to deliver a tricky, low backhand shot, Nadal lost control of his racquet which bounced off the surface and hit him square in the nose.
Nadal and his injuries 🙏Now he suffers from a weird nose injury. Even if it doesn’t seem to be serious or at least feels that way.
—Bharat Ramaraj (@Fancricket12) September 2, 2022
Wow. Rafa Nadal hits his nose with the bounce of his racquet on the court and cuts his nose… which requires an MTO. I’m not sure I’ve seen this before. #US Open
— James Gray (@jamesgraysport) September 2, 2022
As a bloodied Nadal rushed to his bench, Fognini called for medical services to rush to his opponent’s aid.
After medics cleaned up the blood and bandaged a prone Nadal, he stood up to splash water on his face, then received warm applause from the crowd of 23,000 punters in the stadium Arthur Ashe as he returned to action.
With all the inspiration he needed, Nadal finished Fognini winning the fourth set 6-1 to book his place in the third round as the defending Australian and French Open champion who boasts an impressive 26-0 Grand Slam record in 2022.
After the win, Nadal was asked if such an incident had ever happened and he replied: “With a golf club but not with a tennis racket” while laughing.
“Well, just a little dizzy at first,” he responded when asked how he felt. “A little painful.”
“At first, I thought I had broken my nose because it was a shock. It was very painful”, Nadal also explained, with fans online describing him as the “the most bizarre injury of all time” and one “weird injury”.
“[There’s a] a little pain but [I’m feeling] good. [I’m] happy after a bad start. I still don’t understand how I started so badly because the feeling before the game was good.” he claimed.
Currently leading generational rivals Novak Djokovic (21) and Roger Federer (20) with 22 Grand Slam victories, Nadal’s quest to win a fifth US Open title continues with a third-round encounter against Richard Gasquet on Saturday.
You can share this story on social media: