Rafael Nadal says he is ‘mentally destroyed’, confirms hip injury after Australian Open defeat

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After his shock defeat to American Mackenzie McDonald in the second round of the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal confirmed that the physical issues he faced during the match were due to a hip injury, an area that has caused him problems in the past.

” I don’t know what’s going on, if it’s muscle, if it’s joint,” he said in his post-match press conference. “I have history in the hip. I had to do treatments in the past, address (it) a little. Was not this amount of problem. Now I feel I cannot move.”

The Spaniard was far from his best in the early stages of the match, and after being a set and a break down, he went down clutching his hip and needed a long match timeout for treatment. Despite ending the match, Nadal was not present physically, limping to balls and failing to even compete in longer exchanges.

Nadal said despite the injury, he did not want to retire and leave the Australian Open, especially as the defending champion. “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 said.

“Sometimes it’s difficult to accept. Sometimes you feel super tired about all this stuff in terms of injuries,” Nadal added. “Just can’t say that I am not destroyed mentally at this time, because I will be lying.”

The defeat comes during an extended slump, having lost six matches in eight since being knocked out of the fourth round of the US Open last year. A rib injury, return of chronic pain in his foot, and an abdomen injury had all caused him issues in 2022. The problems have led to plenty of conjecture on his potential retirement, and Nadal has faced some of those questions irritably recently, but after the pain-ridden defeat he was clear on the path going forward.

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“It’s a very simple thing: I like what I do. I like playing tennis. I know it’s not forever. I like to feel competitive. I like to fight for the things that I have been fighting for almost half of my life or even more,” he said. “Of course it’s tiring and frustrating (for injuries) to be a part of a lot of my tennis career, (focusing) on recovering process and trying to fight against all this stuff all the time. But I accept it quite well during all my tennis career, and I was able to manage it well.”

Nadal said that after seven months of scarce competitive tennis, another long period out of the game will make it very difficult for him to be at a top level to win the kind of titles he is still hungry to win, but he will wait to assess the injury before jumping to conclusions.


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