Rafael Nadal was his own harshest critic after a shocking loss that ended his participation in the US Open. He has now hinted that he is uncertain about his return to competitive tennis.
Rafael Nadal’s bid for a men's record-extending 23rd Grand Slam title ended in the fourth round of the U.S. Open on Monday.
American Frances Tiafoe, who had lost both previous meetings against the 36-year-old left-hander, stunned the second seed.
It was Nadal's first tournament at Flushing Meadows since he lifted his fourth U.S. Open title in 2019 and he arrived for the hardcourt major without much match practice and doubts hanging over his fitness.
Nadal crediting his 24-year-old opponent for being the better player on the day but hinted at an extended break from the sport.
"I need to go back," Nadal said.
"I need to fix things, life, then I don't know when I (am) going to come back. I (am) going to try to be ready mentally. When I feel that I will be ready to compete again, I will be there."
Nadal, who is expecting his first child with wife Mery Perello later this year, is scheduled to turn out for Team Europe during the September 23-25 Laver Cup in London alongside his great rivals Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.
Earlier this year Nadal arrived in Melbourne having not played a competitive match for five months but then went on a 20-match winning spree, a run that included the Australian Open victory.
He captured a record-extending 14th French Open title, playing with a pain-killing injection before every match to deal with a chronic foot injury.
Nadal's run at Wimbledon ended when he was forced to pull out before a semi-final clash against Australian Nick Kyrgios after suffering an abdominal injury.