Rafael Nadal, the defending champion, was knocked out of the Australian Open in the second round on Wednesday as rising talent Coco Gauff defeated Emma Raducanu.
When Rafael Nadal fell to 65th-ranked Mackenzie McDonald at Rod Laver Arena, where the roof was closed due to heavy rain in Melbourne, Nadal’s wife Mery broke down in tears.
The 36-year-old Nadal lost to the American 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 because of a hip problem that necessitated a medical break.
It raised fresh concerns about whether age and injuries were catching up with the record-holding 22-time major winner because it was the defending champion’s quickest withdrawal from a major in seven years.
Now it appears Novak Djokovic will win the men’s championship.
Nadal said that his ailments were having an impact and that losing “hurt.”
“I’ve never been in a position to complain, life has given me so many positive things that I have no right to complain,” he said.
“(But) I am tired, I am sad, I am disappointed, all this is a reality.
“From here on… what I want is to continue playing tennis. Don’t think I’m saying all this because I want to take a step back.
“It is not the case, but my current feelings are bad.”
In contrast to Nadal’s disappointment and pain, 27-year-old McDonald is into the third round and a match against Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan.
“He’s an incredible champion, he’s never going to give up regardless of the situation,” said McDonald of his beaten opponent.
“I was trying to stay focused on what I was trying to do and he kind of got me out of my rhythm, and I just got through it.”