The image speaks for itself. With the bag on his shoulder, slow step and bowed head, Rafael Nadal faces the changing room tunnel. The stamp occurs after the physical problems were once again the protagonists in his defeat in a Grand Slam.
This time the hip prevented him from competing at his highest level against Mackenzie McDonald. The defending champion and first seed refused to retire when discomfort appeared in the second set. And by a score of 6-4, 6-4 and 7-5 he ended up losing to the American in the second round of the Australian Open.
"I'm tired, sad, disappointed," Nadal said after the match in the press room. "From here, I suppose that when things progress, the appropriate decisions will be made, because I want to continue playing tennis. Having said that, don't think that I want to take a step back, it is not the case, but my current feelings are bad." The 36-year-old Spaniard opened up about an increasingly common situation.
In the last three Grand Slams he has ended up with significant physical discomfort, which has led to considerable recovery time. "It is evident that it is again, that in the last three Grand Slams I have not been able to finish any in good condition: two abdominal tears, here I do not know what happens in the hip...", recalled the 22-time Grand Slam champion.
Bartoli reflects on Rafa Nadal
Passing by this Wednesday on the RMC Sport program, the Super Moscato Show, Marion Bartoli, tennis consultant, was necessarily asked about Rafael Nadal's new injury during his defeat in the second round of the Open.
Australia. “He is not in denial but I think he has set himself a goal, that of going to win one last Roland-Garros. The Roland-Garros he won last year in 2022, no one thought he was going to win it. We were told that he could barely walk and that his foot was catastrophic.
(…) Even if it will break everywhere, even if it will be difficult, on this surface he has the recipe and the magic formula to be ready. You don't win Roland-Garros fourteen times without knowing how to be ready. I think he will set this last deadline.
And if he really sees that it's not working, he can actually start to consider the rest... Which game he will want to play last, in which place he will want to play last and organize his retirement a bit like Roger Federer with a kind of jubilee,” Marion Bartoli said of Rafael Nadal.