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Zverev went down as the second set reached 6-6 and could immediately be heard screaming and crying out in pain, having injured his ankle. He was taken off court in a wheelchair before re-emerging on crutches to officialy retire the match and thank the crowd, trailing at a set at 7-6(8) 6-6.
And Tim Henman has now claimed the nature of the match’s conclusion left the 13-time champion “subdued” after reaching a 14th final in Paris on what is his 36th birthday. “You feel terrible, and to hear Rafa so subdued, through to a Grand Slam final on his birthday – you’d think there would be huge elation – to finish that match in those circumstance is disappointing for everyone but especially Zverev himself,” the former British No 1 said on Eurosport.
Nadal himself paid tribute to his opponent in his on-court interview and shared how difficult it was to witness the 25-year-old crying in the off-court medical room before they both came back to the court to shake hands.
“DIfficult to say a lot of things today in the situation,” he said during his on-court interview. “I mean of course for me as everybody knows [to] be in the final of Roland Garros one more time it’s a dream without a doubt but at the same time [to] finish that way, I have been there in the small room with Sascha before we came back on court and [to] see him crying there, it’s a very tough moment so just all the best to him and all the team.”
Henman also shared his well-wishes for Zverev, admitting that he hoped it wouldn’t be a serious injury with Wimbledon now three weeks away. The German is also guaranteed to be the top seed at a Grand Slam for the first time if he can recover in time to compete at the All England Club, as he will rise to a career-high of world No 2 on June 13, sitting behind Daniil Medvedev who is banned from the tournament.
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“He is going to be absolutely devastated, competing at such a nice level, the tennis was incredible, the athletic ability, the movement – in that split second you catch the side of your foot and the ankle goes,” the former world No 4 said.
“There is going to be damage, you just hope it is not going to be too bad and that it’s a sprain rather than breaking a bone.”
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