Rafa grateful to opponent Tim Smyczek, who asked the umpire to replay a point in the final stages of the match after a spectator-caused fault
Melbourne: Rafael Nadal hailed an "amazing" act of sportsmanship from his opponent after overcoming nausea and dizziness to avoid a shock defeat in the second round of the Australian Open yesterday.
Spain's Rafael Nadal prepares to serve in his second round match against USA’s Tim Smyczek at the Australian Open in Melbourne. Pic/Getty Images
Nadal admitted he thought about pulling out of his match with American qualifier Tim Smyczek after coming close to throwing up on court as he failed to serve out the third set at 5-4.
But despite losing that set in a tie-break, the 14-time Grand Slam winner dug deep into his reserves of skill and stamina to win the next and then eventually break Smyczek serve in the decider to lead 6-5.
There was still time for more drama as a spectator shouted out just as the left-hander was serving at 30-0, with the resulting fault looking set to stand until Smyczek told the umpire to replay the point, and Nadal eventually secured a gutsy 6-2, 3-6, 6-7 (2/7), 6-3, 7-5 win in four hours and 12 minutes.
"I want to congratulate Tim because he was a real gentleman what he did in the last game," said Nadal, who applauded his opponent off the court. "It was amazing. Not a lot of people would do something like this at 6-5 in the fifth. I think he played a great match," Nadal added.