Defending Australian Open champion and No. 1 seed Rafael Nadal fell to Mackenzie McDonald during Tuesday’s second round after aggravating a left hip injury in the second set. He finished the match, but an MRI showed that the Spanish star will need some time to recover.
“Good afternoon. I have undergone medical tests after losing yesterday,” Nadal tweeted. “The MRI shows a grade 2 injury in the iliopsoas muscle in my left leg. Now it’s time for sports rest and anti-inflammatory physiotherapy. Normal recovery time 6 to 8 weeks.”
The iliopsoas muscle is the main flexor of the hip joint. Nadal appeared to get injured while chasing down a forehand while trailing 3-4 in the second set. He was immediately checked by the trainer and had to use a medical timeout. His wife was seen crying in the stands.
During the post match press conference, Nadal said he came into the match with some hip discomfort.
“It had been a couple of days like this, but nothing like today in that moment,” he said on Tuesday. “I have history in the hip, I’ve had issues. I’ve had to do treatments in the past and presently too, but this amount of problem, I feel that I cannot move.”
Nadal, who has won an all-time record 22 Grand Slam men’s singles titles, said he considered stopping but he didn’t ask the medical staff because he feels he knows his own body. He said he tried to play without increasing the damage, although he admitted it was a struggle as he couldn’t hit the backhand or run for the ball.
“I didn’t want to retire. Being the defending champion here, I didn’t want to leave the court with a retirement,” Nadal said. “Better like this at the end, I lost. Nothing to say, congratulate the opponent.”
He felt frustration with the injuries, but tried to keep a positive mind saying there is not much more to do that to “keep going.”
“I just can’t say that I am not destroyed mentally at this time, because I will be lying. It’s hard for me,” Nadal said.
“I really hope that it doesn’t put me out of the court for a long time… It’s not only the recovery. It’s all the amount of work that you need to put together to come back at a decent level.”