When we at TSF started talking about our Aussie Open men’s picks — at least from the bottom half of the men’s draw — none of us thought that Rafa Nadal would be the last man standing.
And in fact, his knees thought the same thing. The Spaniard’s grinding game, coupled with the rough courts of at Melbourne Park, ultimately led to his undoing in a quarterfinal match against fifth seed Andy Murray. The defending champion (and second seed) retired from the match while trailing 0-3, two sets down. And lest we forget that Murray actually had a chance at winning the match — Nadal with a lame knee or not — the Scot reminded us at his post-match presser:
“I didn’t know when [Nadal] hurt his knee, when he started feeling it, but from my side, I played very well… I deserved to be up when the match stopped.”
Up next for Murray is a semifinal against Marin Cilic, who scalped yet another top-ten player by beating Andy Roddick 7-6 (4), 6-3, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3.
Trojan Horse: Nike decided to dress Nadal in a bold-colored crew (with pinks and oranges) along with hombre plaid shorts. Not exactly menacing, but when your game is doing all the talking, it doesn’t really matter what you wear. Note the Nadal/Nike toro logo on the upper of Rafa’s Courtballistec 2.3s, a special make-up; the retail version has a swoosh.
Buy: Rush and Crush Tee, in white and orange blaze, $60; Rush and Crush Shorts, in white/orange and brown (sold out), $60; Rush and Crush Jacket, in orange blaze (sold out) and white, $100; Bandana, aster pink, $15; Courtballistec 2.3 Men’s Shoe, White/Orange Blaze, white, and black, $120; all at nike.com.
More pics: Detail shots of Nadal in (and out of) his outfit after the cut…