Rafael Nadal's streak at the Australian Open came to an end on Wednesday against American Mackenzie McDonald. The Spanish star, struggling from the start of the match, suffered a hip/thigh injury midway through the second set.
The former world number 1 stoically remained on the court, but was unable to turn the game around. The defending champion said goodbye to the tournament to applause at the Rod Laver Arena and many wondered if this would be his last appearance at Melbourne Park.
The 36-year-old man from Manacor has had many difficulties in recent months, partly due to his usual physical problems. After the abdominal tear suffered at Wimbledon, the Iberian has not been able to return to 100% and has won very few matches.
Through his Twitter profile, Rafa revealed that he has suffered a second degree injury to the iliopsoas. The Spaniard will have to be out for between six and eight weeks and could return to the courts directly on clay. Nadal will definitely miss the ATP 500 in Dubai, while his presence in Indian Wells and Miami remains uncertain.
In the Eurosport microphones, Alex Corretja reflected on the future of Rafa Nadal: "We know that Rafa will give everything until the end of his career, even though he is now mentally destroyed. I don't think he will retire after Roland Garros, he will carry on.
He will keep playing until he can't anymore. I doubt he will quit after Roland Garros. Of course, it is not easy to digest all these injuries and the subsequent recovery, but he will do everything possible to arrive in Paris in good condition." Even if he doesn't win a Slam again, I don't think there will be much difference." Mats Wilander also expressed his opinion about Nadal: "Rafa was never able to control the match, McDonald made him run everywhere and that tactic caused Rafa's injury."
Rafa will be out for about two months
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.