Borna Coric spoiled Rafael Nadal’s return to tennis on Wednesday night, beating the Spaniard 7-6 (9), 4-6, 6-3 in the Western & Southern Open.
Nadal, who hasn’t played since July 6 after an abdominal tear forced him to withdraw from a semifinal match against Nick Kyrgios at Wimbledon, looked lacking in match practice as he prepares for the US Open.
“With a week-and-a-half to New York, it’s sad to not play well here,” Nadal said. “I need to get into Grand Slam mode.”
Nadal, 36, showed no signs of the injury that saw him withdraw from Wimbledon but knows there is still plenty of work to be done.
“I need to practice,” Nadal said.
“I need to return better. I need days. It’s better to come back when you’ve spent a period of time outside and win your first match.
“I wasn’t ready enough to win the match today. The big thing is to stay healthy. It’s a difficult injury to manage. I need to take it step by step.”
Coric will next play another Spaniard, Roberto Bautista Agut, who defeated home hope Marcos Giron 6-3, 6-3.
Main photo:- Borna Coric celebrates as he beats Rafa Nadal by Mike Lawrence/ATPTour.com