World No.3 Rafael Nadal was tested by American Jack Sock in the opening round of the 2021 Citi Open on August 4. After winning the opening set, the tournament Wild Card, Sock surprised the Spaniard by winning the second set. In the end, the top-seed shook off his rust in the final set to prevail into the next round.
As expected, the capacity crowd at Washington was treated to some exhilarating tennis by the 20-time Grand Slam champion. From forehand pass, volleys, hooks to tweeners, Nadal displayed his full repertoire against Sock.
But perhaps, the best shot of the match had to come from the first set, where Nadal executed the tweener to win the point, much to the delight of the fans on the main court.
Nadal speaks after his his Washington debut
Sharing his views on his debut at the Citi Open and the takeaway from a long, enduring battle, Nadal explained, “You need matches like this to be fitter after a month without competing. But that’s part of the process, and I know the process. I went through all this stuff many times on my career. So it’s something I am not worried about.”
“So is about winning these kind of matches. That helps you to be better. Then, if I’m able to improve with my foot, I think the rest of the things [are] going to come step by step. [It] is true that he went through a couple of important injuries, something that is always difficult,” Nadal said. “And it is true that today, a lot of young guys [are] there. It’s not easy to fight with all of them. They are younger, they are good. They are ready to play as many weeks as they need.”
“I have been resting enough. Maybe [it] is not about resting, but is the moment to just keep going,” Nadal said. “[It] is the moment to not practise much because I played a three-hour match, so I need to be ready for tomorrow.“
The top seed will now take on South African Lloyd Harris in the pre quarters. The two players have never met on the ATP tour.