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Rafa: "An Opportunity Lost"

Rafael Nadal will undergo an MRI scan in Melbourne on Wednesday after not knowing immediately the exact nature of the injury that forced him to withdraw in the fifth set of his Australian Open quarter-final against Marin Cilic. The Croatian was leading 3-6, 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-2, 2-0 after three hours and 47 minutes of play.

“I can't say because I don't know,” the World No. 1 admitted in his press conference on Tuesday night. “It is difficult to know exactly the muscle. We need to wait a couple of hours [and] tomorrow I am going to do a test, an MRI here. Then we will know.”

“I started to feel the muscle [got a] little bit [tired] in the third set, but [I was] playing normal, [with] no limitations. Then, in the fourth set, on one movement, one drop shot I think, I felt something. At that moment, I thought something happened, but I didn't realise how bad it was [or] what was going on in that moment.”

Nadal confirmed that the injury was not his right hip, but high on the leg. "Tomorrow, we going to communicate what's going on after the MRI [scan].”
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Nadal, who captured the Australian Open title in 2009, had been attempting to reach the semi-final at Melbourne Park for the second successive year.

Rafael Nadal waves to the Rod Laver Arena crowd after retiring due to injury in the fifth set against Marin Cilic on Tuesday night in Melbourne.
“It’s not the first time an opportunity has gone for me,” said Nadal, the winner of 16 Grand Slam championship crowns. “I am a positive person, and I can be positive, but today it was an opportunity lost to be in the semi-finals of a Grand Slam and fight for an important title… I don't want to say frustration, but it’s really tough to accept, especially after a tough December.

“I worked hard to be here. We did all the things that we believed were the right things to do to be ready. I think I was ready. I was playing okay. I was playing a match that anything could happen: I could win, I could lose. I'm being honest, he was playing good, too… But I was fighting for it. I was two sets to one up.

Despite the setback, Nadal praised the performance of sixth seed Cilic, who will now play Great Britain’s Kyle Edmund in the semi-finals on Thursday.

“[He was] serving well, hitting very strong from the baseline, returning so well. He was playing very aggressive. Lot of things.”


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