The champion left his throne vacant at the 2023 Australian Open. Rafael Nadal had already left doubts in his first round commitment and reaffirmed it in the second, where he was surpassed from start to finish by a Mackenzie McDonald who played, without a doubt , the best match of his career.
It was not easy for the Spaniard, who was uncomfortable at all times during the American’s victory in straight sets with partials of 6-4, 6-4 and 7-5. McDonald’s was a clear winner. He took control from the first ‘game’ with a break in favor, which led him to win the opening set.
Already with an advantage, he also started the second episode with a break in favor, but this time he was reached by the Spaniard, although he lost serve in the ninth point. Just before finishing the second set, Nadal suffered his first physical problem.
He could no longer move. The self-love that has characterized the Spaniard caused him to finish a game where he no longer had options. McDonald only seized the moment to outplay him in straight sets. Beyond the result and his early elimination at Melbourne Park, what is truly worrying is the physical state in which the Spaniard is.
Seven years had passed since Rafa had not lost in the first two rounds of a Grand Slam. And this negative result will drop him in the ATP ranking to at least the sixth box. Now McDonald is waiting for his next opponent and is gradually gaining ground as one of the dark horses of the event.
How would you rate Rafael Nadal’s short participation in the 2023 Australian Open?
Rafa Nadal went out in straight sets
Rafael Nadal suffered a heart-breaking loss at the 2023 Australian Open. “I didn’t ask them. I am old enough to take my own decisions.
So I didn’t want to retire, to be defending champion here. No, I didn’t want to leave the court with a retirement. Better like this at the end. I lost. Nothing to say. Congratulate the opponent,” he remarked. “That’s the sport at the same time.
Just try your best till the end. Doesn’t matter the chances that you have. That’s the philosophy of the sport. That’s the essence of the sport by itself. I tried to follow that during all my tennis career, and I tried of course to not increase the damage, because I didn’t know what’s going on,” he added.
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