Rafael Nadal was the top seed and the defending champion at the Australian Open. However, the Spaniard was far from winning another Major title after struggling with injuries for seven months. Rafa arrived in Melbourne unformed and experienced another setback to drop 1955 points following the second round loss.
Therefore, a winner of 22 Majors will leave the top 5 and become world number one. 6 the following Monday. Nadal stayed ahead of Felix Auger-Aliassime, Taylor Fritz and Holger Rune, the young guns who also failed to reach the quarterfinals at Melbourne Park.
Rafa was a player to beat in the first half of 2022, picking up two Major titles and winning 20 matches in a row. However, he suffered an abdominal injury at Wimbledon and withdrew before the semifinal. The veteran has yet to find his form again, playing just 13 games after the All England Club and scoring four wins!
Rafael Nadal will lose 1955 ATP points after the Australian Open.
Rafa cleared the first hurdle at the Australian Open, but it was clear he needed more to go all the way. Nadal faced Mackenzie McDonald in the second round and fell 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 at Rod Laver Arena.
The Spaniard injured his left hip in the second set and found himself in a difficult position. Refusing to give up, Nadal gave it his all in the third set, only to hit the starting gate after the late break for McDonald’s. The American collected five breaks from eight chances and dropped serve just twice to move to the top in style.
Mackenzie played gritty tennis and built the lead on faster rallies to four strokes, leaving the opponent out of pace. The lowest-ranked player broke Rafa in the first games one and five for 4-1 in less than 20 minutes.
Nadal cut the deficit with a break in game six, and McDonald fended off a break point at 5-4 to take the set home. The second set saw back-to-back breaks in the opening stage, with Rafa wasting a game point at 3-3 to lose serve and push the opponent in front.
The American hit an ace in the eighth game to confirm the lead, and the Spaniard called a medical timeout on his left hip. Rafa walked off the court to receive the treatment and held on in game nine to extend the set. McDonald brought it home after Nadal’s tiring forehand at 5-4 to get closer to the finish line.
Rafa continued and gave his best in the third set, fighting like a true champion despite having trouble moving or hitting a backhand. He fired an ace on break point at 4-4 and held to stay in contention. Mackenzie leveled the score at 5-5 and placed a backhand down the line winner in the next to take a decisive break.
The American hit a serve winner while serving for the win in game 12 to seal the deal and dethrone a 22-time Major winner. Nadal will miss six to eight weeks and will fight to stay in the top 10 without playing in Indian Wells and going deep.