Tennis: Dizzy Rafa quits in a tizzy

Rafael Nadal leaving the court after retiring from his match against Damir Dzumhur at the Miami Open in Key Biscayne, Florida. Dzumhur won 2-6, 6-4, 3-0 after the Spaniard quit play for the first time in six years.
Rafael Nadal leaving the court after retiring from his match against Damir Dzumhur at the Miami Open in Key Biscayne, Florida. Dzumhur won 2-6, 6-4, 3-0 after the Spaniard quit play for the first time in six years. PHOTO: REUTERS

Retirement in hot & humid conditions raises worries over coming clay-court tournaments

MIAMI • Rafael Nadal retired from his second-round match at tennis' Miami Open on Saturday due to a bout of dizziness, while Andy Murray advanced despite blowing his top at an umpire after finding a women's ball among those he was using.

Sporadic boos broke out when 14-time Grand Slam champion Nadal decided he could not continue in the third set, after feeling ill in typically humid conditions in Florida.

The health scare raised concerns about the 14-time Grand Slam champion's clay-court campaign.

The world No. 5, a nine-time French Open champion whose mastery on clay helped make him a legend, feared for his safety as he felt dizzy and struggled to cope with heat and humidity.

"Very bad feelings, but even with very bad feelings, I finish a lot of matches," the four-time Miami losing finalist said. "Today I was suffering from my health. I didn't know what was going on. I was not sure I can finish the match that way so I had to stop."

He handed 94th-ranked Bosnian Damir Dzumhur a 2-6, 6-4, 3-0 triumph when he quit a match for the first time in six years.

And the 29-year-old Spaniard, who for years has battled knee injuries, raised the spectre of uncertainty over the next two months in the run-up to the French Open in Paris.

"Hopefully it's nothing. Hopefully it's just the extreme conditions out there, the beginning of a virus combined with the conditions," the four-time Miami losing finalist said.

Both players complained of troubles at the end of the first set, Dzumhur asking for a trainer first.

For Nadal, however, things got much worse: "I called the doctor a couple of times. I decided I was not safe. I wanted to finish the match but I decided I would not."

In the night session, Briton Murray had a heated exchange with the chair umpire en route to a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Uzbek Denis Istomin.

The Scot faced break point at 2-2 in the second set when he noticed that a women's ball, which has a red stamping to differentiate them at the Miami Open, had somehow got into the mix.

Though the rogue ball was removed, he was clearly flustered and netted a ground stroke in the next rally to lose the game.

Murray then gave the umpire another earful. "It's not right. Do you know how different the balls are?" he asked. The umpire said he was fully aware but could do nothing about it. "The point stands. It's the same for both," he said.

Murray then settled down, immediately broke back and closed out the match without further incident.

World No. 4 Stan Wawrinka was the highest seed to lose on Saturday after the Swiss was sent packing 6-4, 6-3 by Russian Andrey Kuznetsov, who saved eight break points.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE


MIAMI OPEN

Day 5 & 6: StarHub Ch201, 9am & 11pm

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 28, 2016, with the headline 'Dizzy Rafa quits in a tizzy'. Print Edition | Subscribe