Australian Open Nadal’s exit raises fresh questions about future. Rafael Nadal set a record by winning his 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open a year ago, but his demoralizing loss on Wednesday has renewed concerns about how much longer the ailing Spaniard can continue to compete.
The 65th-ranked Mackenzie McDonald of the United States defeated Rafael Nadal 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 at Rod Laver Arena, leaving Nadal’s wife Mery in tears.
After only two sets, Nadal’s championship defense was finished when he limped out of the stadium with a strained hip.
What will happen next for one of the greatest men’s tennis players ever?
In the near future, 36-year-old Nadal must identify the problem with his hip and solve it.
Nadal claimed he experienced the difficulty for “a couple of days” following his physically and psychologically taxing loss but was unsure of the cause.
The disappointed Spaniard told reporters, “I don’t know what’s going on, if it’s muscle, if it’s joint.
“I’ve had problems in the past with my hip. In the past, I had to receive treatments and speak briefly. Not to the extent of the problem.
“At this point, I feel immobile.”
Beyond that, Nadal’s outlook is more certain; he declares his intention to keep competing.
I suppose when things go ahead, the appropriate choices will be made from this point on because all I want is to keep playing tennis, he added.
Don’t assume that I’m saying this to distance myself from the situation. Although it is not the case, my sentiments right now are not good.
We must maintain reality.
The most recent of several problems that have dogged his career, his hip may have limited him against McDonald.
But even before this, there was little reason to believe that Nadal, who won his 22nd major championship at Roland Garros the previous year, would add a 23rd in Melbourne.
After his victory at the French Open, Nadal withdrew from his Wimbledon semifinal due to an abdominal muscle tear.
A few weeks later, he fell to Frances Tiafoe in the round of 16 at the US Open. He would go on to lose three more times until the end of 2022.
Roger Federer, an old friend and adversary who was 41 years old, retired in September, which made Nadal’s tennis career even more obvious.
The Spaniard’s start to the year wasn’t much better, as he suffered two United Cup losses.
In his opening encounter at Melbourne Park, Nadal wasn’t at his best and needed four sets to upset young British player Jack Draper, who was rated 38th and experienced cramping late in the match.
In his remarks following his shocking loss on Wednesday, Nadal made it plain that the ailments were having an impact.
In Spanish, he remarked, “It aches as usual, but in the end, the glass is growing fuller,” which signifies that you’ve had enough or that you’ve had enough.
“Life has given me so many good things that I don’t have a right to complain; I’ve never been in that situation.
“However, it is obvious that things do happen, and at the level of sports, the glass is filling up and a point arrives when the water can overflow.
“We need to be practical,”
It would be Nadal’s 15th victory at his favorite tournament, the French Open, if he were to win it once more in May or June.
It is just the type of round number that would be ideal for a farewell.