USA

Tennis fans freak out over Rafael Nadal retirement scare

Tennis fans couldn’t believe what they were seeing on social media when the words “Nadal” and “retirement” began trending on social media on Friday morning.

The name synonymous with the Spanish megastar, Rafael Nadal, quickly led many to fear he had decided to hang up the racquet and step away from the sport.

Ranked No. 2 in the world and with 19 grand slam titles to his name, Nadal’s fans were sure he had more to give. After battling injuries for several years, the 33-year-old returned to his unstoppable best in 2019 by claiming the French and US Open titles.

Thankfully, however, heartbreak turned to relief as it became clear the tennis great wasn’t retiring. But the undefeated racehorse, also named Nadal, was.

“Omggggg. Whew. Saw Nadal trending and mentions of retirement … Different Nadal,” The Athletic’s Prim Siripipat wrote.

“As a huge fan of both tennis and horse racing, seeing ‘Nadal Retirement’ trending was not good,” Adam Wiener of American news outlet CBS tweeted.

The reaction of fans discovering the news was about a horse instead of one of the most beloved tennis players on the tour made for some fun viewing.

Nadal, the horse, injured his ankle after a workout on Thursday, prompting the decision to retire him.

The 3-year-old colt suffered a left front condylar fracture, trainer Bob Baffert told Associated Press. He had surgery during which two screws were inserted in his ankle at the track’s equine hospital.

“He looked good doing it,” Baffert said of the workout. “He got back to the barn and you could tell he was a little bit off. We X-rayed his left ankle. He’s got the start of a condylar fracture, a little faint line. There’s no damage, it’s not displaced.”

Condylar fractures are a repetitive strain injury that results in a fracture to the cannon bone above the fetlock due to large loads during high-speed workouts, and has proven to be career-ending for Nadal.

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