Rafael Nadal isn’t too happy about his early morning defeat of No. 6 Pablo Cuevas in the Rio Open.
The top-seeded Nadal was able to outlast Cuevas to reach the semifinals, but didn’t close out the match until 3:21 in the morning local time on Saturday. Organizers at the Rio Open had scheduled all of the top five matches on center court, and with all of them going three sets, it pushed the final match to more than 14 hours after play started.
The long match means that Rafael Nadal only has about 16 hours to rest before facing No. 4 Fabio Fogini in the semifinals, though it will be something of a level playing field. Fogini himself just played a long match, defeating Federico Delbonis 6-4, 6-7 (10), 7-6 (9).
After the match, Nadal spoke out against the late start time and even later finish to his quarterfinal match.
“No tennis tournament should end at this time,” he said. “It’s tough for the players, but maybe worse for the fans. It very bad on the part of the ATP. It’s not the tournament’s fault. It was the ATP that didn’t want to reschedule a match. If it’s a Grand Slam you have a day to rest. It seems like a terrible error to me.”
Rafael Nadal said he was happy with the victory over Cuevas, especially given the conditions.
“Tough conditions, a difficult, young opponent and I’m just content to be in the quarterfinals,” Nadal said. “For me every victory is important, and even more so on clay.”
But more than anything, he was tired.
“I am going to go off to bed and we’ll see if I have recovered,” he said.
The late finish wasn’t the only thing on reporters’ minds. Many commentators noted that Rafael Nadal had a slimmer look, but the Spaniard said nothing was different.
“I am not thinner,” he said. “For six years my weight has been practically the same, always between 85 and 86 ½ kilos (188-190 pounds). Before I used to play with sleeveless shirts. This makes the muscles seem like more.”
Rafael Nadal will take on Fabio Fogini on Saturday, with the match likely to start in the evening.
[Image via AP]