Rafa Nadal has made a surprise appearance at the Mallorca Open as he appeared in the crowd to cheer on fellow Spaniard Felicio Lopez in his final ever tennis tournament. Nadal recently left the tennis world in absolute shock after confirming next year would most likely be his last on the court having withdrawn from Roland Garros due to injury.
Nadal has not played since the Australian Open and stunned fans when confirming he most likely won't play again in 2023 after sustaining a hip injury. The 22-time grand slam champion underwent surgery earlier in June and was seen on crutches as he recovered.
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However, the Spaniard stunned fans in Mallorca as he appeared court side to support Lopez. Fans were thrilled to see the Spaniard enjoying the tennis and cheering on his close friend during his victory over Aussie Matt Purcell in the round of 32.
Maria Francisco Perello, Nadal's wife, joined him court side and Lopez paid tribute to his friends for coming and supporting him in the final moments of his career. "I was lucky that Rafa [Nadal], Marc [López] and many tennis friends came today," Lopez said in his post-match speech.
"Some of them couldn't be here today, but they were there on Saturday [at Lopez's tennis party] and I felt very supported. It's been many years of [my] career and I feel that beyond winning a tournament or a good result or [a] not-so-good [result], I have left a good legacy in terms of friends. I feel loved and appreciated by my teammates and that is what I was always looking for."
Fans went wild over the fact Nadal was in great spirits and smiling as he cheered on his friend.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) June 27, 2023
Feliciano Lopez is playing his last career tournament in Mallorca, Rafael Nadal is in the house 👌 pic.twitter.com/uBbvydOM9D
— Luigi Gatto (@gigicat7_) June 27, 2023
— First Serve Tennis (@FirstServeTnnis) June 27, 2023
Feliciano Lopez’s last dance got at least one more chapter. Into the 2nd round in Mallorca with Rafael Nadal in the stands. pic.twitter.com/gUlFAAcC4p
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) June 27, 2023
Nadal mentioned in his Roland Garros announcement he wasn't sure if he would return to tennis, if at all in 2023. This could see Nadal even further and face incredibly hard runs at future grand slams.
The 36-year-old addressed his injury concerns in a press conference at the Rafa Nadal Academy. "I was even working as much as possible every single day for the last four months, they have been very difficult months because we were not able to find a solution to the problems I had in Australia," he said on his injury.
"Today I'm still in a position where I am not able to feel myself ready to compete at the standards I need to be to play Roland Garros. I am not the guy who will be at Roland Garros just to play."
Nadal will obviously be missing from Wimbledon, which starts on 3 July.
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