Nadal hits out at United Cup and calls for rule change after upset

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It raised doubts about the icon’s chances of defending his Australian Open title this month, with the first Grand Slam of the year kicking off on January 16. However, the De Minaur defeat does have the mitigating factor of being a dead rubber, given both Spain and Australia were already eliminated from the team event after losses to Britain.

Nadal, 36, skipped the mixed doubles against Great Britain, but has since claimed he would have played were his team not already essentially eliminated. Likewise, the US qualified for the final of the Sydney leg against Germany on Monday and taking a 2-0 lead in their tie, which followed a 4-1 win against Czech Republic.

And the 22-time Grand Slam winner has argued that from now on, the loser of the first tie should play the team that hasn’t had a match, in a bid to avoid dead rubber matches between eliminated countries. He claimed that format would be more exciting for fans, as well as players.

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“Putting things in perspective [for] this competition, I find a negative point,” Nadal told the media. “It’s the first year of this competition, so that’s the kind of thing that we need to fix, to improve, and to make it more interesting for everyone.”

Nadal’s form has led to direct questions from journalists about the potential of him retiring this year, having been plagued by injury problems in 2022 despite his two Slam triumphs. However, he rebuffed suggestions he’s set to follow Roger Federer in bowing out of the sport.

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“I lost my match. That’s it, no? Every time I come to a press conference it seems that I have to retire,” he said, defiantly. “So you are very interested on my retirement. I mean, that, for the moment, isn’t the case.

“When the day arrives, I’m going to let you know, guys. Don’t keep going [on] with the retirement, because I’m here to keep playing tennis.”

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