Defending champion, Rafael Nadal is knocked out of the Australian Open

Defending champion, Rafael Nadal is knocked out of the Australian Open

Defending champion and top seed, Rafael Nadal has crashed out of the Australian Open in round two to 65th-ranked American Mackenzie McDonald in a major upset Wednesday, his worst Grand Slam results in seven years. 

The 36-year-old Spanish player, who was struggling with what appeared to be a hip injury, slumped 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 under a closed roof on Rod Laver Arena.

Nadal’s elimination on Wednesday shakes up the men’s draw and puts a twist in the Grand Slam titles race, with nine-time champion Novak Djokovic able to draw level with the Spaniard’s 22 major championships should he take a 10th crown at Melbourne Park. 

His injury paved the way for McDonald to end the Spaniard’s bid for a third title at Melbourne Park.

Before the injury, McDonald had played impressively to take the first set, going toe-to-toe with the 36-year-old Spaniard and winning most of the ferocious baseline exchanges.

“He’s an incredible champion, 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,” McDonald said.

"I was trying to stay so focused on what I was doing and he kind of got me out of that with what he was doing. But I kind of just kept focusing on myself and got through. 

"Last time I played him was at Chatrier, he kicked my butt," said McDonald, who took only four games off Nadal in the second round of the French Open in 2020.

"It's tough to hit through on clay but I liked my chances on hard, I really wanted to take it to him on hard court. I'm really glad I got my chance and got away with it."