Rafael Nadal lost to Mackenzie McDonald in the second round of the Australian Open. Rafa injured his left hip in the second set and revealed a grade 2 Iliac Psoas that will keep him away from the courts for between six and eight weeks.
The Spaniard intended to play Doha and Dubai in February, but he will have to withdraw from both events. Nadal has only played 13 matches after last year's Wimbledon, with a record of three wins and eight losses. The Spaniard wanted to add more points to his tally in February after learning that he would hardly defend the 2,000 Australian Open point.
With the latest injury, Nadal will stay out of the court at least until Indian Wells and he will most likely drop out of the top-10 for the first time since April 2005! Rafa arrived in Melbourne unformed, struggling with one injury for months and experiencing another at Rod Laver Arena against McDonald.
The American knocked him down 6-4, 6-4 and 7-5 and signed Nadal's worst result in a Major since 2016. Rafa got rid of Jack Draper in the first round but was far from his best level against McDonald even before the injury. McDonald played at a high level and stayed focused against an injured opponent to advance to the third round.
The American made five breaks from eight chances and only dropped serve twice to advance to the third round in style. Mackenzie played gritty tennis and built the lead on faster rallies to four strokes after keeping the points on her racket.
The lower-ranked player got off to a flying start, smashing the defending champion in games one and five of the opener 4-1 in less than 20 minutes. Nadal cut the deficit with a break in the sixth game, and McDonald fended off a break point at 5-4 to bring the set home and build momentum.
In the second set, Rafa wasted a match point at 3-3 to lose serve and put his opponent ahead.
Rafa Nadal is injured again
Rafael Nadal's uncle and former long-term coach Toni Nadal can only hope to see his nephew make yet another famous comeback.
"My hope is now focused on seeing him, once again, raising his head and fighting to be at Roland Garros defending his options," Toni Nadal wrote in a column for El Pais. "Let's hope that his body responds because the commitment and the capacity for suffering, I think he will not lack.
I remain prudent and, certainly, pleased to witness the great ovation that the Australian public dedicated to Rafael when he said goodbye this Wednesday at the Rod Laver Arena," the Spanish coach expressed.