Australian Open 2023: Rafael Nadal, top seed, falls to Mackenzie McDonald in second round

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Rafael Nadal will need to wait longer to possibly win his 23rd Grand Slam. The front runner took an early exit from the 2023 Australian Open on Wednesday as he was removed in the 2nd round by 65th-ranked Mackenzie McDonald 6-4, 6-4, 7-5.

Nadal fought through a left hip injury throughout the match.

“It’s a tough moment. It’s a tough day,” Nadal stated following the loss, the Associated Press reported. “I can’t say that I am not destroyed mentally at this moment, because I would be lying.”

Late in the 2nd set, Nadal showed up awkwardly after completion of a point versus McDonald. A fitness instructor came by to look at Nadal, who even left the court for a medical timeout. The 36-year-old star ultimately went back to the court to resume the match, however was plainly wrong physically.

Wednesday’s 2nd round loss is the earliest that Nadal has actually been removed in a Grand Slam competition because the 2016 Australian Open when he lost to Fernando Verdasco. This follows Nadal won the Australian Open for the 2nd time in 2022.

After the match, Nadal mentioned the reality that he could not correctly strike his backhand and his cardio wasn’t near the kind he’s accustomed to after sustaining the hip injury. Nadal confessed that his hip had actually been obstructing him for a couple of days, however it got a lot even worse on Wednesday. 

Injuries have actually been a problem for Nadal since late. He needed to have pain-killing injections in his left foot on his method to winning the 2022 French Open. In July, he needed to take out of Wimbledon prior to the semifinals due to a torn stomach muscle. The 22-time Grand Slam champ likewise had a rib cartilage injury throughout the 2022 season.

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