The weird incident occurred between video games within the first set when the Spanish nice was heard saying to chair umpire that “the ball boy took my racquet” that pressured the match into a short halt.
“The ballboy took my racquet” 😂A particular first for Rafa!#AusOpen • #AO2023 https://t.co/T4xqN4ZLBd
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“I need the racquet back,” the 36-year-old defending champion, trying bewildered, advised the chair umpire.
It was not instantly clear what occurred, however evidently Nadal requested for his racquet to be restrung, just for the ball boy to take the unsuitable one.
“The ball boy took my racquet!” a smiling Nadal shouted to Draper, explaining what the hold-up was.
It didn’t overly have an effect on the 22-time Grand Slam champion as he went on to win the match, regardless of a second-set wobble, 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, 6-1.
“Not distracting, just a funny situation,” Nadal advised Eurosport later.
“I said ‘I need the stringer’, but I needed the stringer to look at the other racquets.
“So he picked up my racquet I used to be able to play (with). However okay, he took it and no drawback in any respect.”
Nadal next plays the American Mackenzie McDonald at Melbourne Park.