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Berrettini Pulls out of Australian Open, Nadal Accidentally Announces it Before Tournament Confirmation

An abdominal injury has forced Matteo Berrettini to withdraw from the Australian Open. EPA-EFE/DAVE HUNT

By Ricky Dimon

Matteo Berrettini withdrew from the Australian Open on Monday evening prior to his fourth-round match against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Rafael Nadal, scheduled to play the Tsitsipas-Berrettini winner, had already been informed of the development when he took the stage for his post-match press conference after beating Fabio Fognini during the day session. Unbeknownst to Nadal, however, the news had not yet been made official.

As such, it was the world No. 2 who accidentally broke the story.

“I [made] a step forward today, something that I needed,” he said of his 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 victory over Fognini, soon to be getting quizzical looks and murmurs from the moderator. “And I need to make another one for Wednesday against….Tsitsipas I think it’s going to be. Is it official?… Well, I don’t know; maybe. I think I heard that Berrettini was a little bit injured…but not official at all. Sorry for that. But, yeah, something…uh, well, I messed it up.”

The tournament quickly made it official just minutes later.

Matteo Berrettini receives medical treatment during his Australian Open win over Karen Khachanov. EPA-EFE/JASON O’BRIEN

Berrettini sustained an abdominal injury during is third-round, three-tiebreaker win over Karen Khachanov. The Italian had been in stellar form this season but was forced to give Tsitsipas a walkover into what will be the Greek’s eighth career meeting with Nadal (the head-to-head series stands at 6-1 in Nadal’s favor).

Nadal, who has been dealing with an injury of his own (a back problem that prevented him from playing in the ATP Cup) also didn’t expend much energy on Monday. The 34-year-old Spaniard cruised past a familiar foe in Fognini after just two hours and 16 minutes.

“(The) first set without a doubt [was] my best level in the tournament,” Nadal assessed. “It’s normal, too, because I was able to practice for two days in a row. That makes an important difference. But at the same time, yeah, it’s important to find positive feelings now. My physical condition needs to keep improving. But I think this match helps, too. I was not able to practice the proper way for the last 19 days, but yesterday I started again to increase the amount of work in the practice. Today [was] a positive victory with some long points, so that helps for the next match.”

As Nadal found out before anyone, it’s a match that won’t come against Matteo Berrettini.

Ricky contributes to10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.