Rafael Nadal heads out to Toronto, his debut week in Washington over after two matches as the world No. 3 went down to South African Lloyd Harris 6-4, 1-6, 6-4.
The third-round shocker leaves the Spaniard still struggling with the foot injury which bothered him at Roland Garros more than two months ago and kept him away for Wimbledon and the Olympics.
Harris, ranked 50th, called the win one of the best of his career.
“I’ve have had some big wins, and this year I have beaten some Grand Slam champions (Dominic Thiem in Dubai, Stan Wawrinka in Doha),” Harris said.
“But to beat a 20-time Grand Slam champion, and especially in front of a full crowd and with such an amazing atmosphere, it was definitely something very special.
“The best thing was to stay in the moment, keep my composure; I just stayed with my game and played a consistently level throughout the match.”
He called it “a good, quality match, I’m just super happy with how everything turned out.”
Nadal, winner of 88 career titles, went down to a Harris lob winner on match point.
Nadal refused to blame injury, instead saying his troublesome foot was improving every day as he prepares to transfer to Canada for the Toronto Masters.
“I just wasn’t ready, but the most positive thing for me was that my foot was better than yesterday,” Nadal said.
“It’s the best possible news. At times I played better than yesterday but in the third set, when I had the opportunities, I didn’t know how to take advantage of them.
“His serve was a huge barrier and I played really bad.
“This is sport, you can’t make mistakes at key moments, moments where I’ve also felt a little more nervous.”
Main photo:- Lloyd Harris beats Rafa Nadal in Washington ©Citi Open