Rafael Nadal: 'I'm not going to give up anything'
by SIMONE BRUGNOLI | VIEW 3585
Unlike a year ago, Rafael Nadal will not carry this season's Australian Open in his memory for too long. The 21-time Major champion was eliminated in the second round, becoming the fewest seeded player to have been out of the draw since Gustavo Kuerten in 2001.
Rafa lost to Mackenzie McDonald 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 in two hours and 32 minutes, dealing with a left hip injury since the end of the second set. The world number 2 couldn't offer his best tennis at Rod Laver Arena, having problems with his movement and making too many mistakes.
On the other hand, McDonald did everything right, playing well and dominating his opponent in the closing stages of three sets to emerge on top and advance to the third round. Talking about his injury, Rafa said that he has not felt well in the last two days, although it was nothing like today.
He needs more checkups to find out more about his current status, and he was devastated after another setback. McDonald fired 14 aces, controlled his shots very well and had an advantage of up to four shots in the shortest points.
He created eight break chances and converted five to control the score and eliminate the defending champions. The American started strongly and broke the Spaniard in the first game of the match. In the fifth game, Mackenzie got another break to extend the lead after 19 minutes of play.
Nadal argued with chair umpire Marijana Veljovic during the break over her towel and came back from a break in the sixth game. Mackenzie saved a break point as he served for the set at 5-4 and forced Rafa's error for 6-4 on 46 minutes.
They traded breaks early in the second set, and McDonald hit three good service turns after that to keep the pressure on the other side. Rafa left the court and held on in the ninth game once he came back to extend the set.
McDonald held to 30 in the tenth game after Nadal tired of his forehand to close out the set and build a massive lead after one hour and 49 minutes.
Nadal's 2022 season ended on a rough note
Speaking to Eurosport, Rafael Nadal acknowledged that he initially had to "accept things" the way they are.
"You have to accept things, be calm, first recover physically but also mentally. I'm going to keep fighting . I'm not going to give up anything, it's the beginning of the year, but it's like a boxing match and now I'm knocked out, but I have the calm and tranquility to see things in perspective even though now is a complicated moment", he asserted.