Nadal bids farewell to Madrid Open after fourth round loss

Madrid: Rafael Nadal bid farewell to fans at the Madrid Open, the ATP Masters 1000 tournament that he won five times during his illustrious career, after a 5-7, 4-6 fourth-round loss to the Czech player Jiri Lehecka.

The five-time champion of the tournament (2005, 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2017) produced the final epilogue of his Madrid Open journey against Lehecka. His fourth-round match against a Czech player lasted two hours and two minutes.

A win would have meant victory number 60 for the Spaniard in Madrid, but his count will now forever remain at 59 triumphs and just 15 defeats since his first match against Álex Corretja in the Madrid Arena in 2003.

After the match, an emotional Nadal received a special presentation on the court in which banners marking his five titles in 2008, ’10, ’13-’14 and ’17 unfurled from the closed roof as Madrid said goodbye to its greatest champion.

“It’s been a very special week for me, very positive in many ways, both personally and for my tennis. I had the chance to play again on court. A few weeks ago, two days before Barcelona, I didn’t know if I would compete in an official match again and I’ve now played two weeks. It’s been unforgettable,’ Nadal was quoted by ATP tour.

“The only thing I can say is ‘thank you’. It’s been an incredible journey that started when I was little. I came to Madrid for the first time in 2003, when the tournament was played indoors. The first time I came here feeling competitive was in 2005. It was one of the most exciting wins of my career, still indoors. Ever since, the support has been unconditional from everyone. I cannot thank you enough,” he added. – IANS

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