Even though Nadal got injured in the second set, he withstood the pain to complete the match instead of retiring
Defending Australian Open champion Rafael Nadal has been dumped out by World No.63 Mackenzie Mcdonald.
The 27-year-old American beat Nadal in three straight sets of 6-4 6-4 7-5 in two hours and 32 minutes early Wednesday.
Natal, ranked No.1 at Melbourne, made 31 unforced errors in the second-round exit.
Mcdonald’S best performances in the Grand Slams have come at the Australian Open and Wimbledon, where he got to the fourth round in 2021. He made his longest run at the Australian Open in 2021 and 2018 respectively.
Nadal was clearly injured in the second set but decided to finish the match instead of retiring. At the post-match press conference, Nadal revealed the hip injury that curtailed his movement on the court.
“I tried to keep playing without increasing the damage. But I just wanted to finish the match,” Nadal reflected and he was cheered off the court by an understanding crowd.
“I didn’t want to retire, to be defending champion here. Better like this at the end. I lost. Congratulate the opponent.” After the injury, Nadal was denied of his potent backhand, which became impossible.
Nadal continued: “Just try your best till the end. Doesn’t matter the chances that you have. That’s the philosophy of sport. That’s the essence of the sport by itself. I tried to follow that during all my tennis career.
“Just can’t say that I am not destroyed mentally at this time, because I will be lying. It’s hard for me. But let’s see, hopefully is nothing too bad. In the end, have been three positive weeks in terms of practice.
“So I really hope that that don’t put me out of the court for a long time, because then it’s tough to make all the recovery again, all the amount of work that you need to put together to come back at a decent level.
“I went through this process too many times in my career, and I am ready to keep doing, but that’s not easy, without a doubt,” added the 22-time Grand Slam winner.
Novak Djokovic won his second-round match and is now the firm favourite to collect his 10th Australian Open and 22nd Grand Slam title.