'I’m destroyed mentally' – Rafa Nadal heartbroken at shock Australian Open exit

An emotional Rafael Nadal has admitted he is ‘destroyed mentally’ following his second-round exit to Mackenzie McDonald at the Australian Open.

Nadal, the defending champion at Melbourne Park, struggled with a hip injury but refused to retire during the match and eventually lost in straight sets.

The 22-time major champion headed to the Australian Open as the top seed but has suffered his earliest Grand Slam exit in seven years with his wife Maria seen crying in the stands.

Nadal, 36, did not register a single ace and broke his opponent just twice as American world No.65 McDonald registered a 6-4 6-4 7-5 victory.

‘I can’t say that I’m not destroyed mentally at this time because I will be lying,’ the Spanish tennis legend told reporters after his defeat. ‘It’s hard for me.

‘I considered it all the time, stopping… I just wanted to finish the match. That’s it… I didn’t want to retire, to be the defending champion here. I didn’t want to leave the court with a retirement.’

Quizzed about his injury, Nadal added: ‘I have been a couple of days like this. But nothing like today in that movement. I don’t know.

‘I don’t know if it’s muscle, if it’s joint. I have history in the hip, I have had issues. I have had to do treatments in the past, recently too. But it was not this amount of problem.’

Nadal had beaten Great Britain’s Jack Draper 7-5 2-6 6-4 6-1 in his opening round clash while McDonald will next face either Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka or Dalibor Svrcina of the Czech Republic in the third round.

‘He’s an incredible champion,’ McDonald said about Nadal. ‘He’s never going to give up, regardless of the situation, so even closing it out against a top guy like that is always tough.’

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