Defending champion Rafael Nadal knocked out of Australian Open. At the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal was shockingly defeated by American Mackenzie McDonald in the second round.
The American defeated Nadal 6-4 6-4 7-5, marking the Spanish legend’s fastest Grand Slam exits since winning his maiden major at Roland Garros in 2005.
The Spaniard’s elimination throws a wrench into the chase for Grand Slam titles, as nine-time winner Novak Djokovic is now in position to match the Spaniard’s total of 22 major titles if he wins a 10th crown at Melbourne Park.
At Rod Laver Arena, the reigning champion appeared to have strained his left hip when racing for a backhand late in the second set. After receiving treatment from a trainer, he had an off-court medical break while behind 6-4 5-3.
The knock was clearly present when he came back, which made it simple for McDonald to end Nadal’s quest for a third championship at Melbourne Park.
The conclusion of a fight against a strong opponent like that is always difficult, according to McDonald. “He’s a fantastic champion, he’s never going to quit up regardless of the scenario,” McDonald said.
He sort of pulled me out of that with what he was doing as I was trying to be so concentrated on what I was doing. But I managed to get through it kind of by just concentrating on myself. He kicked my butt the last time I played him at Chatrier, according to McDonald, who lost to Nadal in the second round of the 2020 French Open in just four games.
“It’s difficult to hit through on clay, but I felt like I had a chance on hard, and I really wanted to go after him there. I’m really happy I had the opportunity and got away with it.
Since retiring from Wimbledon at the semi-final stage the previous year due to injuries, Nadal has struggled with them. He entered 2023 with low confidence and appeared to be less than totally fit.