Nadal’s hunt for a record 21st major title ended in five sets against the Greek fifth seed, who came back from two sets down to win 3-6, 2-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-4, 7-5 in 4hr 5min in the quarter-finals.
The 34-year-old was playing his first tournament of the year after back tightness, following a stint in Australian quarantine, kept him out of the ATP Cup team competition.
But he refused to blame the unusual build-up to the coronavirus-disrupted Grand Slam for his surprise defeat.
Wise words, @RafaelNadal 👏#AusOpen | #AO2021 https://t.co/PrTN0QTaTW
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) 1613573219000
“We can find excuses or reasons, or maybe this quarantine that we need to spend more time in the room than usual,” he said.
“But I’m not the guy that’s going to find excuses on that or going to complain about what happened, no.
No other sport like it 🤝#AusOpen | #AO2021 https://t.co/uRE27zawJI
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) 1613571614000
“Just accept. I never considered myself an unlucky person at all. Doesn’t matter the injuries that I had. I think I am a very lucky person.”
Defending champion Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev both hit out at quarantine after their quarter-final on Tuesday, blaming it for a rash of early-season injuries.
It’s your moment @steftsitsipas 🙌An #AusOpen semifinalist once more 👊 #AO2021 https://t.co/ZgLCUxBTbY
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) 1613567953000
But Nadal dismissed talk of halting the tour, or playing it in a series of “bubbles” to avoid further stints in quarantine, as suggested by Djokovic.
“There are two options: stop the tour or keep going,” he said.
“It’s tough for the players, of course… but on the other hand, if we stop the tour, why and how and when we will be able to come back? And a lot of jobs are gonna suffer a lot.”
Nadal added: “We need to think a little bit bigger… we need to find solutions and we need to adapt to this very tough times that we are facing.”