Rafael Nadal will never repeat what Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic did

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Rafael Nadal will never repeat what Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic did

With 22 Major titles by his name, Rafael Nadal is the most accomplished player of all time. Rafa has earned many records on the most notable tennis scene, standing as one of two players with multiple titles at all four events alongside Novak Djokovic.

However, Nadal is missing one outstanding achievement in his resume after failing to defend the title outside Paris! Rafa had three strikes with at least four consecutive Roland Garros titles. However, the Spaniard has never done anything like that at other Majors, failing to defend eight titles he claimed over the years!

Rafa's first Major crown outside Paris came at Wimbledon 2008. Nadal could not chase another in 2009, struggling at Roland Garros and skipping Wimbledon due to tendinitis in his knees. Rafa conquered the Australian Open in 2009 and reached the quarter-final a year later.

Nadal faced world no. 4 Andy Murray and trailed 6-3, 7-6, 3-0 before retiring due to his right knee issues. The Spaniard bounced back in the rest of the season and claimed the remaining three Major titles for the first time in a career.

However, Rafa would defend only one title in 2011, you guessed, in Paris. Nadal reached the Wimbledon final and moved a win away from the title defense. However, he experienced a loss to Novak Djokovic in four sets. The same happened in New York, with the Serb spoiling the Spaniard's plans and winning the season's third Major.

Nadal lifted another US Open trophy in 2013 and skipped the season's last Major a year later due to a wrist injury. Rafa had to wait four years to win another Major outside Paris, stepping in on the hard court and celebrating his third US Open in 2017.

Twelve months later, Nadal battled past Dominic Thiem in the quarter-final and prevailed after over five hours. Rafa struggled with his right knee again and retired in the semi-final after trailing 7-6, 6-2 versus Juan Martin del Potro.

Nadal earned his fourth US Open crown in 2019 and did not play in New York a year later.

Rafael Nadal has never defended a Major title outside Roland Garros.

Rafa stayed home in Mallorca since the pandemic started and did not train for a few months.

Nadal decided to skip New York due to safety concerns and not having enough time to prepare for a hard-court Major after training on clay. Rafa's eighth Major title outside Roland Garros came at the last year's Australian Open, celebrating in Melbourne for the first time in 13 years!

Nadal came from 6-2, 7-6, 3-2, 40-0 down against Daniil Medvedev in the final to perform an outstanding comeback and become the first player with 21 Major trophies! The Spaniard was never the favorite to defend the crown this week.

Rafa has been battling an abdominal injury since the last year's Wimbledon, barely winning any matches for seven months and losing form. Nadal gave his best in Melbourne, but it was not to be following another injury. Rafa battled past Jack Draper in the first round and faced Mackenzie McDonald in the second.

The American beat the Spaniard 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 in two hours and 32 minutes, delivering Nadal's earliest Major loss since 2016. Rafa injured his left hip in the second set's closing stages and refused to surrender, giving his everything in the third but losing it after a late break.

McDonald fired 14 aces, tamed his strokes nicely and built the advantage in the shortest points up to four strokes. He created eight break chances and seized five to send the defending champion packing. The American made a strong start and built a 4-1 advantage in under 20 minutes with a double break.

Nadal pulled one break back in game six and created a break chance at 4-5. Mackenzie saved it and forced Rafa's mistake for 6-4 in 46 minutes. They traded breaks at the start of the second set before McDonald produced three fine holds to keep the pressure on the other side.

Nadal squandered a game point at 3-3 and missed a half-volley to drop serve and fall behind. The American landed an ace in the eighth game to confirm the advantage, and the Spaniard asked for a medical timeout on his left hip.

Rafa kept playing and held in game nine to prolong the set. McDonald held at 30 in game ten after Nadal's tired forehand to wrap up the set and build a massive advantage after an hour and 49 minutes. Rafa continued and gave his best in the third set, unwilling to surrender before the end.

He fired an ace on a break point at 4-4 and held for more drama. Mackenzie placed a backhand down the line winner at 5-5 to grab a decisive break and fired a service winner in game 12 to emerge at the top.