Rafa Nadal: knockout in season opener rewrites history

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A season that started in the worst way, and moreover has very little precedent in a stellar career.

Rafa Nadal lost to Cameron Norrie in his United Cup debut match, technically still played in 2022 but valid as the first match of the 2023 season. A largely unexpected knockout, but one that, more importantly, rewrites the book of statistics for the Majorcan outfielder.

In his entire career, in fact, it had happened only two other times for Rafa Nadal to lose the first match of a new season. The last previous one was in 2015 and happened against Michael Berrer at the Doha tournament.

The match, valid for Group D of the United Cup, saw the two tennis players battle it out for 2h 45′ of play: a clash that ultimately saw Norrie prevail, who was not discouraged after losing the first set. The final score was thus 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, with Nadal defeated by the current world number 12.

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