Tennis fans freak out after 'Nadal retirement' starts trending

The thought of Rafael Nadal retiring has left the tennis world in shock. Pic: Getty

Shockwaves were sent through the tennis world after after the term 'Nadal retirement' began trending on social media on Friday.

Tennis fans were left in a state of disbelief at the prospect of 19-time grand slam winner Rafael Nadal calling time on his glittering tennis career.

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The World No.2 won a record-extending 12th French Open title and the US Open in a hugely successful 2019, in a sign that he is far from a spent force at the top of men's tennis.

Needless to say, the thought of the 33-year-old retiring from the sport sent shockwaves right across the world.

The only problem was, it was not the human Nadal that was going into retirement but rather, the Spaniard's equine namesake.

Tennis fans freak out over ‘Nadal retirement’ scare

Nadal - the undefeated racehorse and Kentucky Derby qualifying points leader - has been forced to retire after a condylar fracture was found in his left front leg.

The horse had earned more than $1 million in four races and was widely considered a top contender for both the Belmont Stakes and the Derby.

Naturally, news of its sad retirement rocked the racing industry but it had an even greater effect on the tennis community - albeit only temporarily.

Plenty of sports fans understandably freaked out on social media after initially thinking that it was the tennis great who was stepping down from the sport.

Even those ensconced in the world of tennis couldn't help but react to the news.

Well known tennis reporter Ben Rothenberg certainly didn't help matters when he joined in the joke by confirming the Nadal retirement - much to the dismay of many fans.