Rafael Nadal was left amused during his Australian Open 2023 opener against Jack Draper from the United Kingdom after a racquet belonging to the 22-time Grand Slam winner went missing during the game. The incident took place during the first set with Nadal leading 4-3 and getting ready to face Draper’s serve. The Spaniard could not find his racquet and later burst into laughter as he thought it was picked by a ballboy. “I need the racquet back, ballboy took my racquet,” he told the umpire.
It was later revealed that the ballboy mistakenly took the racquet that Nadal was using in order to get it restrung. The racquet was also returned to Nadal after the confusion around the situation was resolved.
“That’s a big mistake,” Australian Open commentator John Fitzgerald said on Channel 9.
Watch it here:
“The ballboy took my racquet”
A definite first for Rafa!#AusOpen#AO2023 pic.twitter.com/T4xqN4ZLBd
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 16, 2023
It was a surprisingly challenging outing for Nadal as he defeated Draper 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 in three hours and 41 minutes. Draper looked determined in the first set and even ended up winning the second one but there was no stopping Nadal on Monday as he produced a commendable performance to clinch the encounter. He will now face Mackenzie McDonald in the next round.
“Very exciting, new beginning, just super-happy to be back at Rod Laver with a victory I needed,” Nadal said after the match.
“Last couple of months have not been easy for me… a very positive start.”
Nadal won the 2022 edition of the tournament after beating Danil Medvedev in the summit clash.