Defending champion Rafa Nadal sat out the Australian Open at the second round stage on Wednesday after suffering a hip injury during his 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 loss to American Mackenzie McDonald.

The Mallorcan player had an indifferent preparation for the first Grand Slam of the year, but he beat Britain’s Jack Draper in the first round on Monday.

It was his first Grand Slam outing in seven years.

(sp)australia Melbourne Tennis Australian Open Day 3
NADAL’S FAREWELL IN MELBOURNE (Image by Cordon Press)

Nadal appeared to suffer a strained left hip while running from a deep backhand in the second set at Rod Laver Arena and after receiving attention from a coach, took time out trailing 6-4, 5-3.

He returned grim-faced to finish the match, but his movement was clearly affected, particularly on his backhand side, paving the way for McDonald to win and thus end the Spaniard’s bid for a third title at Melbourne Park.

Speaking afterwards, Nadal said: “I felt something on my hip and it’s over for me.”

“I had noticed something in previous days, but nothing like today.”

“I didn’t ask the physio if I had to retire because I know my own body and I didn’t want to retire and leave the court because I was the defending champion here,” he commented.

“I tried to continue without hurting myself more, but I couldn’t run and I couldn’t hit my backhand.”

The result means arch-rival Novak Djokovic, a nine-time winner in Melbourne, will level Nadal’s Grand Slam tally of 22 titles if he wins the final one week on Sunday.


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By yjawq

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