Defecting the pressure: Nadal raises questions over Murray’s US Open withdrawal

The world number two, Andy Murray, pulled out of the US Open on Saturday afternoon after deciding that his hip had not quite recovered enough to participate. The world number one, Rafael Nadal, however, has questioned the decision like a true professional.

Friday saw the draw for the next round of the Open commence, and it included Murray in the seeding.

Had the Scotsman pulled out before this draw, Roger Fedrerer would have taken his place as world number two and therefore not offered the threat of facing Rafael Nadal.

But, because he might now end up being pitted against the Swiss master, Rafa has adopted the stance of being a scared child.

“It was a little bit strange that he retired just the morning after the draw was made. It was something that is a little bit strange and difficult to understand.”

“Normally you want to keep practising, keep trying until the last moment. You don’t retire Saturday morning. You retire Monday morning or Sunday afternoon. If not, you can do it before the draw.”

“That’s why I say it’s strange.”

Nadal has clearly lost his bottle and is readying himself to lose the top spot by laying the blame onto Murray; so much for smiles and hugs over the net.

Whilst Nadal arguably does have reason to express his concerns, they’re a bit petty, aren’t they? Murray got the day of his retirement wrong. Straws are being clutched. Barrels are being scraped.

But this is good news for tennis fans, because with the only Brit still in the tournament out, we now have an excuse to further back Roger Federer over Nadal.

Let’s be honest, we all prefer the dead cool Swiss over the Spaniard anyway. So now we can give him our full backing without feeling unpatriotic. We’re doing it for Andy, after all.

Let’s hope Rafa gets his comeuppance for this back-handed shot.