New York - Rafael Nadal, trapped in a nightmare first set against
Dominic Thiem in the quarter-finals of the US Open, knew where to look for
He didn't cast his eyes toward the support team in his box,
or send his racquets out to be restrung.
"When these things happen, normally I am not the guy
that looks at the string or looks at the box or looks at the racquet,"
said Nadal, who absorbed a 6-0 loss of the opening set, winning just seven
points as Thiem rode roughshod over him in 24 minutes.
"I am the guy to look at myself," Nadal said.
"I needed to move forward, to change that dynamic, and I did. But the
first step to change that dynamic is not to find an excuse on the racquet or on
the string or on something that is not the truth. The only truth is that you
have to do things better to be able to fight for the point and fight for the
That's just what the 17-time Grand Slam champion did over
the course of a 4-hour 49-minute epic that concluded at 02:04 on Wednesday.
When it was all over, Nadal was happy to be in a seventh US
Open semi-final, but even happier that he'd done everything he could to turn
the match around.
"I played a lot of long and tough matches in my career.
That's one more today," he said after his 0-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-7 (4/7), 7-6
"In some way when you give everything that you have,
win or lose the personal satisfaction when you give everything and you play
with the right attitude is the same."