Rafael Nadal was shocked in the quarterfinals of the Swiss Indoors Basel on Friday, falling 2-6, 4-6 to 17-year-old Croatian teenager Borna Coric.
“It’s unbelievable for me,” said Coric. “I just want to enjoy the moment. I’m just so surprised and it’s an unbelievable feeling.”
Coric broke Nadal three times early on, winning his own service games to take a quick 5-0 lead and the set in just 34 minutes.
“It’s frustrating for me to lose here,” said Nadal. “I knew it was going to happen. I was ready for that. I accept that and I know I have to be better for the beginning of 2015, and the only way to be better is work and health. Without health, you cannot work.”
Nadal was playing his first tournament since being diagnosed with appendicitis in Shanghai.
Coric, a wild card at Basel, will move on to face the seventh-seeded David Goffin in the semifinals on Saturday, after Goffin’s 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-4 win over world number nine Milos Raonic.
“I don’t know how far he can go,” said Nadal of Coric. “He’s a good guy, good player, young. It depends on how he’s able to improve.”