Beaten Nadal's Australian Open injury jinx strikes again

Sun Jan 26, 2014 9:46am EST
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By Simon Cambers

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - For the third time in five years, Rafa Nadal's Australian Open title hopes were ended by injury as he was beaten by Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka in the final on Sunday.

Victory would have given the Spaniard a 14th grand slam title but as in 2010 and 2011, his body failed him and he was swept away in a 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3 defeat.

The world number one said that he first felt pain in the warm-up and he was then reduced to tears at the start of the second set but battled on because another injury-affected exit would have been a tough pill to swallow.

"It is true that I was not very lucky and this is a tournament that is painful for me," an emotional Nadal, who missed the 2013 tournament, told reporters.

"It is a tournament that I really had some troubles physically in my career and is something that is painful for me. But that's part of life. That's part of sport. It's not the end of the world. Is just another tough moment."

Nadal captured the Melbourne major in 2009 but suffered a knee injury against Andy Murray in 2010 and a hamstring injury the following year scuppered his chances of winning a fourth successive grand slam title.

The 27-year-old had looked unbeatable when he crushed Roger Federer in straight sets in the semi-finals but on Sunday, his injury woes struck again.

Although he improved after treatment to take the third set, his movement was still severely affected and the speed of his serve was hugely reduced.   Continued...

Rafael Nadal of Spain attends a news conference after losing his men's singles final match against Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland at the Australian Open 2014 tennis tournament in Melbourne January 26, 2014. REUTERS/Bobby Yip