Defending champion Rafael Nadal reached the second round of the US Open in unfortunate circumstances with opponent David Ferrer forced to retire during his final grand slam match.
He was a break up on Nadal at 4-3 in the second set having lost the opener 6-3 in steamy conditions on Arthur Ashe Stadium but was clearly struggling with a left calf injury and decided he could no longer continue.
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Ferrer says that he plans to retire in Spain next season, and he told the crowd: “It was pain. I tried to play but I think it (calf muscle) is broken. I have really good memories here. This is my last grand slam. I’m so sorry because I can’t finish the match. I will miss you a lot.”
After a fine start to the match, Nadal’s forehand went awry in the second set, but his primary feeling at the end of the clash was sorrow for his compatriot.
Nadal said: “I’m very, very sorry for him. He’s one of my closest friends on tour. We shared amazing moments together playing French Open finals, a couple of Davis Cup finals. It’s sad to see him finish like this but he deserves everything because he’s a fantastic player.”
In 2013, Ferrer reached his only slam final at Roland Garros and climbed as high as world No 3 the same year.
Nadal moves through to second-round clash with Canada’s Vasek Pospisil. The World Number One will hope to continue with his fine form and defend his title.
Moses is a freelance writer for Newslibre and Programs Associate at the Uganda Child Cancer Foundation. He loves writing about sports, politics and news around the globe and Inspiring new young people!!