Defending champion Rafael Nadal reached the second round of the US Open in unfortunate circumstances with opponent David Ferrer forced to retire during his final grand slam match.
The 36-year-old, one of the outstanding players of this era, is renowned as a warrior and had never pulled the plug midway through a contest in 207 previous grand slam matches.
He was a break up on Nadal at 4-3 in the second set having lost the opener 6-3 in steamy conditions on Arthur Ashe Stadium but was clearly struggling with a left calf injury and decided he could no longer continue.
Ferrer plans to retire at an event in Spain next season, and he told the crowd: "It was pain. I tried to play but I think it (his calf muscle) is broken. I have really good memories here. This is my last grand slam. I'm so sorry because I can't finish the match. I will miss you a lot."
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