‘An important part of my life is leaving too,’ says emotional Rafael Nadal after his third first-round defeat in as many years.
Earlier on Monday, Rafael Nadal’s four-match winning streak came to a brutal end on the back of a seven-point loss to Novak Djokovic in the Paris Masters.
His run came on the back of a stunning five-set victory over Stan Wawrinka at the Shanghai Masters, as well as an impressive return to form at the Australian Open with a win over Kevin Anderson in the second round.
But the former world No. 1 had his title hopes all but dashed in a dramatic end to his career on a day when all the major prizes were up for grabs on clay.
Here, I look back on an impressive run of form that had many believing that Nadal’s domination at the start of the season was just a flash in the pan.
‘My career is now over’: Nadal’s thoughts on 2019
Rafael Nadal’s career on the line after third set
But in a shock to the tennis world, he was beaten by Djokovic in the second round of the French Open – the first time in 15 months that Nadal has lost a match inside the top four.
The loss to Djokovic is his first of eight successive losses to the world number one and it has left him looking for answers.
“I didn’t play my best tennis today,” Nadal said after losing to Djokovic in the second round.
“He played well. I had chances to break him down.
“But he played well, too. And he is an amazing player. He is the best in the world. It is my fault. He is the best.”
Nadal’s loss to Djokovic was his first defeat since March 2018 in a brutal four-setter that left Nadal questioning his commitment to the sport – and his head coach.
‘I gave my best’
In an open letter to Nadal published in Tuesday’s edition of Spanish sport daily Marca, the former world No. 1 highlighted the importance of coaching.
“I can only tell you at this point that you are right, you are the best and you have won some of the most important ones, but it