Rafael Nadal stood up for fellow top men’s tennis player Novak Djokovic.
Nadal is set to take on Diego Schwartzman in the quarterfinals of the US Open. He is the only member of the “big three” remaining in the tournament after Djokovic lost in the fourth round to Stan Wawrinka and Roger Federer was defeated by Grigor Dimitrov in five sets.
Djokovic’s exit was controversial due to his retirement after being down two sets and trailing in the third set when he decided he could no longer continue. Djokovic received boos from the US Open fans, which did not sit well with Nadal.
“I believe that he’s a super athlete,” Nadal said of Djokovic Monday night. “If he had to go is because he was not able to continue at all. For him is much more painful than for anyone on that Arthur Ashe Stadium. He missed an opportunity to win another Grand Slam.”
Nadal is right; there is no way Djokovic wanted to miss out on a grand slam opportunity. Nole was dealing with a shoulder injury prior to the tournament and was bothered by it in the early rounds of the major. The question some are wondering is why he didn’t make it through four more games to give Wawrinka a clean win. Why did he choose to retire when he did? Nadal’s point seems to be, don’t concern yourself with those issues; if Djokovic could have kept competing, he would have.