Rafael Nadal drops out from top-5

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Rafael Nadal drops out from top-5

A 22-time Major winner Rafael Nadal dropped out from the top-5 after over a year. The Spaniard failed to defend his Australian Open title and 2000 ATP points, leaving the top-5 for the first time since January last year and hoping to return in April or May.

Rafa has played only 13 matches after the last year's Wimbledon, struggling with an abdominal injury and missing a chance to become world no. 1 at the US Open. The Spaniard led the ATP Race after claiming the Australian Open and Roland Garros in 2022, but he could not keep that pace after several setbacks.

The most recent one came in the Australian Open second round a few weeks ago when he injured his left hip against Mackenzie McDonald in the second round. Nadal suffered a 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 loss, allowing four rivals to pass him on the ATP ranking list.

Rafa experienced a Grade 2 iliopsoas injury and will miss six to eight weeks. Thus, the Spaniard could leave the top-10 for the first time since April 2005 if he fails to recover until Indian Wells! Rafa came to Melbourne without any form, struggling with an injury for months and experiencing his eighth defeat in the previous 13 encounters.

Rafael Nadal dropped out from the top-5, hoping to return in April or May.

Nadal beat Jack Draper in the first round before falling to McDonald in straight sets, struggling right from the start and feeling the pain since the end of the second set.

McDonald played well and stayed focused against an injured rival to advance into the third round. The American produced five breaks from eight opportunities and lost serve only twice. The lower-ranked player made a flying start and broke the defending champion in the opener's games one and five for 4-1 in under 20 minutes.

Nadal reduced the deficit with a break in game six, and McDonald fended off a break point at 5-4 to bring the set home and gain momentum. The second set saw back-to-back breaks in the early stage, and Rafa squandered a game point at 3-3 and got broken.

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 left the court to receive the treatment and held in game nine to prolong the set despite an apparent struggle.

McDonald brought the set home after Nadal's forehand error at 5-4 to drive closer to the finish line. Rafa continued and gave his best in the third set despite struggling to move or hit a backhand. He fired an ace on a break point at 4-4 and held to stay in contention.

Mackenzie leveled the score at 5-5 and placed a backhand down the line winner in the next one to grab a decisive break. The American landed a service winner in game 12 to seal the deal and dethrone the Spaniard.

Rafael Nadal Wimbledon