Weakened by injury to defending champion Rafael Nadal, he was knocked out in the second round at the Australian Open. The 36-year-old Spaniard lost to American Mackenzie McDonald 4:6, 4:6, 5:7 on Wednesday and admitted his early exit from the Melbourne hard court tournament since 2016. The 22-time Grand Slam finisher finished at the end of the second set – he struggled The winner of the tournament from a hip injury, after that there was no real chance of a successful return. In the stands of the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, his wife, Maria Francisca Perello, shed tears in a handkerchief.
“I didn’t want to give up, I’m the defending champion here. Giving everything to the end, no matter how great the chances are, is the philosophy of the sport,” Nadal said afterwards. Frustrated” that coming back from injuries would be a big part of his tennis career: “I can’t say I’m not mentally devastated right now, because then I’d be a liar.”
Nadal looked frustrated even before his injury. The Spaniard berated the chair umpire, and hit his racket on the bench with his hand after a break. Then he cut himself with a long stride, and limped to the bench with a sore face, receiving a short treat in the upper region of his left leg. Then he disappeared into the dressing room to take a medical break.
A few minutes later, the second in the world ranking came back and immediately won the serving match to make it 4: 5 – but his movements were not at all smooth. Opponent MacDonald seemed overwhelmed by the situation, there was a break in his previously solid game. But he recovered and advanced to the third round.
Six months ago, Nadal had to give up due to injury at the Grand Slam tournament at Wimbledon. At the time, he did not compete in the semifinals against Australian Nick Kyrgios due to a torn abdominal muscle. Nadal has also been suffering from chronic foot pain for years, which is why, according to his own statements, he had already considered retiring not so long ago.
“Most days I was sad, I was losing the joy of playing tennis. That’s why I thought I should retire, ”he told the Spanish newspaper Marca recently. Meanwhile, the new treatment is working well without being able to solve the problems completely. (dpa)