Rafael Nadal says he was “completely destroyed” during his thrilling quarterfinal five-setter against Denis Shapovalov.
Nadal looked extremely uncomfortable during the fourth set and even required a medical timeout as he went back into the locker room before returning for the final set.
Following his win, which books a semi-final date against either Gael Monfils or Matteo Berrettini, the 35-year-old opened up on his physical struggle.
“I was completely destroyed,” Nadal told US great Jim Courier after the win.
“A very tough day, very warm. Honestly I didn’t practice for it. I was a little bit lucky at the beginning of the fifth.
“I started to feel not very well in my stomach so I just asked if they can do something.
“We went inside and they take the tension and checked that everything was alright on my body, and then I took some tablets. I was lucky that I was serving great in the fifth.”
Nadal said he has surprised himself by his ability to fight through a number of tough matches to reach his first Australian Open semi-final since 2019.
“Two months ago we didn’t know if we could be back on tour at all,” he said. “It’s a present of life that I’m here playing tennis again.”
Nadal’s incredible intestinal fortitude left Australian tennis greats Todd Woodbridge in awe on Nine’s coverage.
“In my mind, he’s the greatest competitor this sport has ever seen,” Hewitt said.
“Mentally, he’s just incredible,” Woodbridge added.