The second round was fatal for Rafael Nadal, who will not confirm the title won in the 2022 edition of the Australian Open. The Spanish champion left the scene in Melbourne in the very first Italian morning due to the American Mackenzie McDonald, who took advantage of his opponent's absolutely non-optimal physical condition to eliminate the number one seed in the main draw.
Australian Open 2023: Rafael Nadal wins an incredible, despite the injury
During the second set, Rafa had to deal with a major hip injury, which practically conditioned him for the rest of the game. Despite the problem, the Iberian continued to fight and was able to win an overtime point.
The winner of 22 Grand Slam titles finally gave up 6-4, 6-4, 7-5. Here is the video of the shot hit by Nadal released by Eurosport on Twitter.
In addition to the five defeated defeats in the last seven games played, Rafa will have to face some important news, certainly negative.
INFINITO NADAL ððð Nonostante il dolore continua a giocare e ci regala colpi del genere#EurosportTENNIS | #AO2023 | #AusOpen | #Nadal pic.twitter.com/pXkgWkeRJh — Eurosport IT (@Eurosport_IT) January 18, 2023
In fact, the winner of 22 Grand Slam titles will have significant changes regarding his position in the world rankings, given the almost 2000 points he will soon lose. According to the current ranking projections, the Spaniard will slip to 3815 and will certainly be overtaken by the Norwegian Casper Ruud, his rival Novak Djokovic, Stefanos Tsitsipas and also the Russian Andrey Rublev.
With Carlos Alcaraz still on top at the moment, Nadal is sure to drop out of the top 5. Rafa currently occupies sixth place but could lose further ground if players like Felix Auger-Aliassime or Taylor Fritz continue their adventure in the competition.
The Spaniard had to fight again in a non-top physical condition, facing an opponent who took advantage of his physical problems to do the feat in the Rod Laver Arena. The beginning of the year for the Majorcan was completely different from 2022, in which he simply made the difference in all the hard-court tournaments played.
During the first week of racing, starting on Wednesday, it is certain that there will be a new champion in Melbourne, given that the 36-year-old was unable to outdo the physical problems this time. A situation that perhaps reopens some scenarios and could allow other tennis players to aspire to the final trophy.