The image speaks for itself. With the bag on his shoulder, slow step and head down, Rafael Nadal faces the changing room tunnel. The stamp occurred after the physical problems were once again the protagonists in his defeat in a Grand Slam.
This time the hip prevented him from competing at his highest level against Mackenzie McDonald. The defending champions and top seed refused to retire when discomfort appeared in the second set. And by a score of 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 he ended up losing to the American in the second round of the Australian Open.
“I’m tired, sad, disappointed,” Nadal said after the game in the press room. “From here, I suppose that when things progress the appropriate decisions will be made, because I want to continue playing tennis. That being said, don’t think I want to take a step back, it’s not the case, but my current feelings are bad.
The 36-year-old Spaniard opened up about a situation that has become increasingly common. In the last three Grand Slams he has ended up with significant physical discomfort, which has led to considerable recovery time. “It is evident that it is again, that in the last three Grand Slams I have not been able to finish any of them in good condition: two abdominal tears, here I do not know what is happening in the hip…”, recalled the 22-time Grand Slam champion.
“We can come here, put on a brave face – which I do – and accept things – which I also do – but you don’t have to fool yourself and make an optimistic speech when you are not today.” Just an hour after saying goodbye to the Australian Open, the Spaniard could not hide his disappointment: “I have never been in a position to complain.
Life has given me and gives me so many positive things that I have no right to complain, but it is clear that things are happening and at a sporting level the glass fills up and there comes a given moment when the water can come out.”
Rafa Nadal reflects on his injury
Rafael Nadal sustained an injury during the second set of his Round 2 loss to Mackenzie McDonald.
“It have been a couple of days like this, but nothing like today in that movement. I don’t know. We’re gonna start talking about that now, but I don’t know what’s going on, if it’s muscle, if it’s joint,” he said. “I have history in the hip that I had issues.
I had to do treatments in the past, address a little. Was not this amount of problem. Now I feel I cannot move,” Rafael Nadal said. “I consider all the time stopping, but I didn’t ask the physician at the end. I have to know myself.
And I tried to keep playing without increasing the damage. No, that’s it. I was not able to hit the backhand at all. I was not able to run for the ball. But I just wanted to finish the match. That’s it,” he said.