nadal knocked out in rome

Posted on May 7, 2008


Getty Images photo

Wow, what a shocker.

In what should have been a routine match for clay court king Rafael Nadal in the second round of the Rome Masters, he suffered a shocking upset in the hands of former French Open champion and Spanish compatriot Juan Carlos Ferrero, 7-5, 6-1.

Ferrero now joins the very tiny club of players who had the temerity to beat Nadal on clay. The only other person who managed the feat is world number one Roger Federer, in Hamburg last year.

Nadal’s loss to Ferrero is only his second defeat after playing 105 matches on clay. Nadal was hoping to win a fourth consecutive championship in Rome.

And though he was suffering from a bad blister and had doubts about whether he should even be on court, Nadal toughed it out and finished up the match, despite an obvious loss of movement due to the discomfort bugging him.

“Today when I woke up, I said it was impossible to play. I spoke to the doctor today and yesterday and they put special protection on it and cream, but it was still tough.

“I congratulate Juan Carlos, but for sure that was not my best tennis.”

This stunning development, along with the loss of other seeds in the tournament so far, such as David Ferrer, David Nalbandian and Andy Murray, should throw the championship wide open to whomever has the guts and gumption to seize the opportunity.

The top two seeds left in the tournament are Federer and Novak Djokovic, who will both be cheered about the prospect of not having to face Nadal to win the tournament.

Federer, in particular, should be feeling confident to know that his arch nemesis has been eliminated for him at such an early stage. If he could focus and stay confident, he could be the one raising the champion’s trophy later this week.

But Nadal’s loss should not be taken as more than a glitch. He was obviously not at his best, hampered by his blister. But this does not mean he won’t be a menacing force come the big one — the French Open, starting at the end of this month.

Nadal has been rather unhappy with the packed clay court schedule in the run-up to the French Open, and has not been shy about expressing his displeasure. Hopefully, he’ll get a good break after his shock defeat today. He will certainly be pumped up to come back and win in Roland Garros later this month.

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