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Australian Open: Nadal loses favorite racket in first-round win

Australian Open champion Rafael Nadal is not having an all plain sailing in his first-round victory at the Grand Slam tornament.

Midway through the first set against Britain’s Jack Draper, the 22-time grand slam winner stood with his arms spread as he explained to the umpire that he was looking for his racket.

“It’s this one for the stringer, not that one,” Nadal could be heard explaining to the umpire.

“I need the racquet back! It is this not one. I need the dampener and everything,” added the Spaniard, referring to the small rubber device which tennis players place between the strings to lessen the impact when they hit shots.

As it turned out, the ball boy had taken Nadal’s racket with the dampener to the stringer.

After selecting a different racket, Nadal apologized to Draper saying: “The ball boy took my racquet!”

After the match, Nadal described the racket snafu as a “funny situation.”

“Normally, I have the number of the rackets under control so I said I need the stringer, but I need the stringer for the other racket,” Nadal explained, per Eurosport.

“So the ball boy picked the racket I was ready to play with. But no problem at all.”

Nadal needed four sets to beat 21-year-old Draper 7-5 2-6 6-4 6-1 and his victory continues a run of 26 years since the last time a defending champion had fallen in the Australian Open’s opening round.

The Australian Open’s top seed will now face American Mackenzie McDonald in the second round.

Writing by Tersoo Nicholas