US Open: I'll keep fighting, says Rafael Nadal after retiring hurt in semi-final

Sep 09, 2018, 08:00 IST | AFP

World No. 1 and defending champ Rafael Nadal vows to come back stronger after knee injury forces him to retire in the US Open semi-final vs Juan Del Potro

US Open: I'll keep fighting, says Rafael Nadal after retiring hurt in semi-final
Rafael Nadal walks off the court after he is forced to retire due to injury in the semi-final against Juan Martin del Potro in New York on Friday. Pics/AFP, PTI

Devastated Rafael Nadal vowed the knee injury that forced him out of the US Open semi-finals on Friday won't stop him chasing more Grand Slam glory. The Spaniard said the trouble was the familiar tendinitis he's dealt with for a decade — unpredictable but not career-threatening. "I know what I have," he said after limping off having lost two sets to third-seeded Argentine Juan Martin del Potro. "I know what is going on with the knee. I know how I have to work to be better as soon as possible."

But it was galling for the player famed for his fighting spirit to hobble out of a second Grand Slam of 2018, having retired in the fifth set of his Australian Open quarter-final against Marin Cilic with a torn inner hip muscle. "It's not about losing, it's about not having the chance to fight for it," he said. "I'm having two great years," added Nadal, who was trying to complete a French Open-US Open double for the second straight season.

Rafael Nadal played with a taped knee
Rafael Nadal played with a taped knee

"I feel that I fought all my career against these kind of things too," added Nadal, who has missed at least eight Grand Slams due to injury since his major debut at Wimbledon in 2003. "It's tough, these moments, but on the other hand I'm going to keep going and I'm going to keep working hard to keep having opportunities."

Nadal's injuries have run the gamut, from the start of his career. An elbow injury in 2003 prevented his French Open debut that year and a stress fracture in one ankle kept him out of Roland Garros and Wimbledon in 2004.

He's nursed foot, back and wrist injuries, adductor and abdominal trouble. And through it all the tendinitis in his knees has slowed him. "All my career everybody said that because of my style, I will have a short career," he noted. "I'm still here. I'm still here because I love what I am doing. I still have the passion. I'm going to keep fighting and working hard to keep enjoying this tour and keep having chances to compete at the highest level."

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