The tennis player from the Balearic Islands, current champion of the tournament but greatly reduced this time due to a hip problem, fell in the second round against the best version of Mackenzie McDonald and was dejected after the defeat
Misfortune in the form of an injury has once again shaken Rafa Nadal and in a Grand Slam, the worst scenario for what it represents and for the impotence it generates in the person affected. The Balearic tennis player, still current champion of the first major tournament of the year, was defeated in the second round of the Australian Open by Mackenzie McDonald (6-4, 6-4 and 7-5), in a match marked by a soreness in the Manacorense tennis player’s hip in the second sleeve, when he was already behind on the scoreboard against the North American player.
Nadal did not arrive in the best conditions to fight to defend the title in Melbourne, with only one victory in the course and against a player who was also diminished like Jack Draper. This time, he accused the lack of rhythm against an opponent who was superior in all facets of the game before the physical mishap of the Spaniard, who wanted to finish and defend his crown despite the intense pain and the obvious risk of further aggravating his new Physical problem.
The Spaniard’s discomfort appeared at the end of the second set, with 4-3 in favor of the American. A deep right hand from McDonald that Nadal tried to force, as he has always done throughout his brilliant career, with the misfortune of noticing a strong strain on the left hip area. With doubtful glances at his bench, Nadal asked a physiotherapist to calm the pain and continue playing, although very weak. Despite the obvious discomfort, Nadal finished the match in a third set in which he could hardly move, served almost without jumping and shot with quality and arm to win his points on serve. An example of honor to which he has accustomed us.
“The glass is filling up”
«I have noticed something in the hip and it is over. I can’t say I’m not devastated because I’d be lying. I’m tired of this injury thing all the time. It is very hard on a mental level to go through the process and the work that is needed for recovery and return to compete at a good level once again,” Nadal commented dejectedly in the press room after being eliminated.
«There are already many injuries and the glass is filling up, I am tired. It hurts like always, but it hurt more in the Wimbledon semis because there I was prepared to win the tournament. The reality is that in the last three Grand Slams I have suffered injuries,” concluded the Spaniard, who has suffered many physical losses in major tournaments. He did not participate in these tournaments up to a dozen times, and five times he had to retire, as in the semifinals of the US Open in 2008 against the Argentine Juan Martín Del Potro.
The emotional image was produced at the end of the match, when the entire audience at the Rod Laver Arena cheered Nadal as he headed for the locker room. The man from Manacor, far from leaving the track on the faster side, came out to the center of it to respond with applause. An emotional and disturbing gesture to say goodbye to who knows if it is the last Australian Open.
With this defeat, the champion says goodbye to a tournament that, on paper, was difficult for him at the moment in which he was going through. Nadal is ranked sixth in the ATP ranking and only 1,000 points away from leaving the ‘top 10’, something that has not happened since 2005. The extent of the injury remains to be known and whether the Spaniard will be able to participate in the next matches on the circuit.
In this sense, Nadal explained: «I am not pessimistic or optimistic, right now I am cautious, we have to wait and see what the doctors and resonances say. There is no other option than to accept things as they come, I have never done crazy things for wanting to return early. Hopefully it won’t be long, I’m just asking for that.” The key is that it is only a muscle loss and not damage to the cartilage or the structure of the hip.
honors for mcdonald
On the other side of the net, the American tennis player enjoyed the best match of his career. With a first serve percentage above 80% and few unforced errors, McDonald was being the best player on court even before Nadal’s injury.
In the first set, the American put Nadal in clear trouble with his serve, breaking it twice. Dizzying and offensive game to surprise a Nadal surpassed by the level of the American. In the second set, the Spaniard came back from 2-0 down, but his rival responded again with another ‘break’, just before the Spaniard’s physical mishap. McDonald is 27 years old and number 65 in the ATP ranking.