Rafael Nadal’s tragicomic loss in Wimbledon 2017 still wins hearts | tennis | Hindustan Times
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Rafael Nadal’s tragicomic loss in Wimbledon 2017 still wins hearts

Rafael Nadal, who had a comical start top his fourth round clash against Gilles Muller in Wimbledon 2017 but was stretched to a five-set epic before crasheing out in the fourth round, still managed to win the hearts of tennis fans.

tennis Updated: Jul 15, 2017 16:53 IST
HT Correspondent
Rafael Nadal lost the Wimbledon Round 4 match against Gilles Muller, but won people’s hearts... again.
Rafael Nadal lost the Wimbledon Round 4 match against Gilles Muller, but won people’s hearts... again. (AFP)

‘Manic Monday’ witnessed an epic encounter between Rafael Nadal and Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller. The Spaniard, who had won the French Open for a record 10th time, headed into the fourth round match without having lost set a set.

What followed was a four hours 47 minutes thriller as Nadal lost 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 15-13 and suffered an exit in the fourth round of Wimbledon 2017.

This was Muller’s first quarterfinal apperance in Wimbledon but it was his second victory over Nadal in the tournament, having previously defeated him in 2005.

READ | Everyone’s a loser - defeat Rafael Nadal at your own peril at Wimbledon

However, Nadal headed into this match on a comical note when he banged his head in a door frame while warming up just outside the court. Nadal, in preparing for the match, leapt up and his head hit the top of the door frame and he was jolted slightly. But, he laughed it off and headed out in the court.

Speaking after the end of the match, the 34-year-old Muller said, “I haven’t really realised what just happened. It’s a great feeling. I was thinking about if I had to come back next day to finish the match. I am just pleased to get it finished and be in the quarterfinals.” He added, “I was two sets up, played really well and then Rafa stepped it up. At the end it was just a big battle. I believe I had four match points and didn’t make them, and then it was really tough. When I had these last two [match points] I said to myself go for it 100 per cent.”

For Nadal — who won Wimbledon in 2008 and 2010, it would have been extremely tough to hang around the court waiting for the winner to soak in the moment, get himself together, pack up and leave for the change rooms.

But that is exactly what Nadal did. Having packed his bag before Muller, Nadal waited for his opponent to get ready to leave the court, which indeed took a fair amount of time. This was not all; Nadal even gave a few autographs on his way out.

READ | VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS: Gilles Muller prevails over Rafael Nadal in Wimbledon classic

“I never said I am not going to come back. I want to come back because I want to play more times in the Centre Court,” Nadal said while talking to the media. “Great feeling. Great atmosphere. I put everything on the court. I played with all my passion. The crowd normally appreciate that. Sorry for the crowd that were supporting me,” he added.