Rafael Nadal’s progression to the second round of the US Open came at the expense of his countryman, rival, Davis Cup teammate and friend in David Ferrer.
Ferrer, a former world No.3 now ranked 148th, had dropped the first set and was struggling with a calf injury when he decided midway through the second set to pull the pin.
The result sees Ferrer’s Grand Slam career come to an end; the Spaniard announced prior to the US Open that this will be his last major tournament.
David Ferrer plans on this being his last Rogers Cup. At the age of 36, he plans on playing one last Grand Slam at the US Open, then retiring at home next year after either Madrid or Barcelona.
Ferrer told me he is "happy" with his decision and career. "I love tennis," he said.
— Arash Madani (@ArashMadani) August 6, 2018
Ferrer was hobbling off Arthur Ashe Stadium before ESPN interviewer Brad Gilbert chased after him and asked if he was willing to chat to the crowd in his last appearance at Flushing Meadows.
Gilbert then explained it was the first time in 208 Grand Slam matches that Ferrer has been forced to retire.
“I feel bad. There was pain. I tried to play but running to my backhand … I think it’s broken,” Ferrer said.
“But anyway I have a really good memories here in US Open. This is my last Grand Slam of my career.
“I’m so sorry because I can’t finish the match, but well, anyway, thanks a lot. Thank you very much. I will miss you a lot.”
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) August 28, 2018
Ferrer reached his first Grand Slam semifinal in New York in 2007 and repeated the feat in 2012. He finishes his career with a 32-16 record at the tournament.
As the fans gave him a standing ovation as he departed the court, Nadal was then interviewed after setting up a second-round meeting with Canada’s Vasek Pospisil.
“Am very, very sorry for him. He’s one of the closest friends on tour,” said Nadal, the world No.1, top seed and defending champion in New York.
“We shared amazing moments together, playing French Open final (in 2013), playing a couple of finals of Davis Cup, winning a couple of titles. He’s one of the greatest tennis players we had in our country, so it’s sad for me to see him finish like this.
“But he deserve everything because he’s a very hard worker, great person and fantastic player.”
In final match on opening day, reigning @usopen champion and World No. 1 @RafaelNadal advances to 2R leading 6-3, 3-4 against @DavidFerrer87, who retires for 1st time in 208 #GrandSlam matches due to a leg injury. #Ferrer finishes with 145-63 record in Slams.
— ATP Media Info (@ATPMediaInfo) August 28, 2018
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