Rafael Nadal has followed his close friend Roger Federer in pulling out of the singles tie of the Laver Cup. The development comes after Federer himself did the same and was replaced by Mario Berrettini for the singles tie scheduled for Day 2. Earlier the duo of Federer and Nadal both played together and lost to Team World combination of Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe by a scoreline of 4-6 7-5(2) [11-9] in what was Federer’s final match of his illustrious career.
Nadal reached London on the back of no match practice and that showed in his performance. According to a report, he reached the British capital on Thursday, a day before the tournament was ought to start, owing to “tough personal situation". He went straight to meet his teammates where the doubles match was confirmed before going for the gala dinner.
Moments after the loss, Nadal withdrew from the singles tie on Saturday. Cameron Norrie has replaced him in the line-up as he will take on Team World’s highest-ranked player Taylor Fritz.
The Laver Cup confirmed on Saturday morning: “Matteo Berrettini will be stepping in for Roger Federer: ‘I cannot wait to start.’ Additionally, Rafael Nadal withdrew for personal reasons. He will be replaced by Cameron Norrie."
“I am not doing well. It’s been a tough time for me, I hardly slept, I was stressful. Luckily everything is okay and I was able to get here,” said Nadal in the post-match presser explaining the reason behind his withdrawal.
Roger Federer described his tennis career as a “perfect journey" despite being denied a fairytale ending with a doubles defeat at the Laver Cup early on Saturday alongside Rafael Nadal.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion has not played since the 2021 Wimbledon quarter-finals because of a knee injury and last week announced his retirement aged 41.
The Swiss showed glimpses of his old silky self in the match against Team World’s Frances Tiafoe and Jack Sock at London’s O2 arena despite his long period of enforced inaction.
Playing with long-time friend and rival Nadal, the two former world number ones won the first set to the delight of a feverish, partisan crowd, but the Americans rallied to win 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 11-9.