Internationals: Nadal eliminated by Hurkacz bids farewell to Rome


By John

The much feared and inevitable farewell has finally arrived. Rafael Nadal, 10-time winner in Rome, lost in the second round to the Polish Hubert Hurkacz in straight sets 6-1 6-3. It was his last appearance at the Internazionali Bnl d'Italia tennis. After that, if his body doesn't betray him, he will certainly play only two more important tournaments before retiring, both in Paris: Roland Garros and the Olympics. The audience was all for him, obviously. And Rafa did not betray, playing with his usual determination, leaving no point unturned, but finding a younger and more concrete (and 'heartless') opponent in his path who left him no escape. A very tiring match under a blazing sun (28 degrees), the last in Rome for the greatest and most successful in the history of the tournament.

The organization of the Internazionali d'Italia had prepared an on-court celebration for the tennis player, but Nadal refused the tribute because he was angry at the elimination. He didn't know about the celebration of his career which would have been a surprise and when he was asked to stop on the pitch for the tribute he preferred to return to the locker room.

«I never said that it would be my last tournament here in Rome – he specified at the end of the match -. I said it about Madrid, but here it's different, it's a different story. I never said it was my last time here at 100%, maybe at 98% – he continued – I didn't expect a ceremony at the end of the match, but if I retire I think they'll have time”.