Rafael Nadal overcame a freak injury scare when he accidentally hit himself with his own racquet to reach the US Open third round on Thursday.
The Spaniard defeated Italy’s Fabio Fognini 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-1 but only after suffering a bizarre self-inflicted injury when leading 3-0 in the fourth set.
The four-time champion, and holder of a men’s record 22 Grand Slam titles, was hurt when his rac-quet bounced back off the court as he stretched for a ball, hitting him squarely on the nose.
The 36-year-old dropped his racquet to the Ar-thur Ashe Stadium floor and sprinted to the sidelines, where he lay on his back with his nose bloodied.
The Australian and French Open champion re-quired a medical timeout to have the wound tended before resuming the match with a bandage across the bridge of his nose.
It was the third time in the match that the trainer had been summoned onto court. “I was a little bit dizzy and it was a little bit painful,” admitted Nadal, who said he had suffered a similar injury in the past caused by a golf club.
He feared he had broken his nose in the incident. Nadal said that despite being a set and 4-2 down, he was happy to have recovered after coming into the tournament still worried by the abdominal injury he suffered at Wimbledon.
That problem caused him to forfeit his semi-final at the All England Club against Nick Kyrgios.—AFP