Rafael Nadal winces as he crashes out of Australian Open in straight sets

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    Rafael Nadal was left wincing and needing medical attention as he crashed out of the Australian Open in the second round to Mackenzie McDonald as the defending champion.

    The 36-year-old picked up the 21st of his 22 Grand Slam titles Down Under in 2022 but will not repeat the feat in 2023 having been hit with injury woe throughout the encounter.

    Nadal lost 6-4 6-4 in the opening to sets to his American rival and despite battling through injury to come out for the third set – losing 7-5 to leave his fans heartbroken.

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    McDonald admitted after the contest that it wasn't the way he would've wanted to beat the icon of the sport, who was limping throughout the final set.

    He said: "I'm happy I kept focusing on myself in the end and got through. Last time I played him he kicked my butt, it's hard on clay but here on hard I fancied my chances."

    Then added of his rival: "He's an incredible champion. He's never going to give up so closing it out against a guy like that is tough. I'm happy I kept focusing on myself and got through."

    Nadal has suffered injury woe throughout his career, but that hasn't held him back as he picked up 22 Grand Slam triumphs and surpassed the previous record of 20 won by Roger Federer.

    Plenty has been said on social media of Nadal with McDonald through to play either Dalibor Svrcina or Yoshihito Nishioka, with many worried about his fitness going forward.

    One social media user said: "Rafael Nadal needs to retire, he can’t keep putting his body through this pain."

    A second added: "Heart feels so damn heavy to see Rafa losing. So worn out, fatigued, weak body language. Man…. This isn't the Nadal we wanna see. Time to retire. Gracefully."

    A third agreed: "Maybe Nadal should retire. He’s left his mark. It’s torture watching him now."

    Should he choose to retire, Nadal will be able to fall back on the £109million he has picked up through his career – and will have the full support of wife Maria Francisca Perello.


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