NEW YORK (Reuters) - France's Gilles Simon was bundled out of the U.S. Open Sunday but said he was happy to be leaving Flushing Meadows to see his bundle of joy -- newborn son, Timothee.
Simon, 25, lost to top-seeded world number one Rafa Nadal in straight sets but he was the one who got a thumbs up at the net as the Spaniard congratulated him on the arrival of his son, who was born Thursday.
"He knows I'm impatient to see my baby," Simon told reporters after his 6-4 6-4 6-2 third-round defeat. "He knows that I'm not really sad today, even if I lost."
The baby arrived four weeks ahead of schedule, and Simon had planned to take time off after the U.S. Open to face impending fatherhood for the first time.
Instead, the Frenchman was alone in his Manhattan hotel room when he received news that the baby was coming.
"It was a strange feeling. I mean, I was alone in my room," he said. "I definitely didn't want to be there, but I couldn't do anything.
"I was expecting him to arrive four weeks later, so it's just bad luck."
Simon said it was difficult juggling his excitement with his job at hand in Flushing Meadows.
"It's hard to focus for me the last three days. But I think I was playing good. The first two sets were nice," said Simon, who surrendered a lone service break in each of the two sets as he held his own against hard-hitting, eight-time grand slam winner Nadal.
By the third set, with his chances to advance unraveling, Simon said he might have given way to the distractions.
"I have to say that I was already in the plane," he said.
Reporting by Larry Fine, Editing by Steve Ginsburg