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Rafael Nadal makes a predicted decision and extends his break from tennis

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As was expected, Rafael Nadal withdrew from the upcoming ATP tournaments in Doha and Dubai. A 22-time Major winner experienced a Grade 2 iliopsoas injury in the Australian Open second round, hurting his left hip and announcing a break to heal it.

Nadal injured his left leg in the second set’s closing stages against Mackenzie McDonald in a 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 loss. After the initial checks in Melbourne, Rafa underwent more in Barcelona and confirmed the results. The Spaniard awaits the second round of results, not training on the court and hoping to change that in the upcoming weeks.

Nadal will try to return in Indian Wells in March, although nothing is certain at the moment. A 22-time Major winner has played only 13 matches after the last year’s Wimbledon, scoring five wins and eight losses! With the latest injury, Nadal will most likely drop out from the top-10 for the first time since April 2005, defending 1100 points in Acapulco and Indian Wells!

Rafa came to Melbourne without any form, struggling with an injury for months and experiencing another at Rod Laver Arena against McDonald.

Rafael Nadal will try to get ready for Indian Wells in March.

The American beat the Spaniard in straight sets and delivered Rafa’s earliest loss at Majors since 2016.

Nadal came to Melbourne after two United Cup losses, passing the opening obstacle but struggling big time in the second round. McDonald played well and stayed focused against an injured rival. The American produced five breaks from eight opportunities and lost serve twice to emerge at the top.

He made a flying start and broke the defending champion in the opener’s games one and five for 4-1 in under 20 minutes. Nadal reduced the deficit with a break in game six, and McDonald fended off a break point at 5-4 to bring the set home.

The second set saw back-to-back breaks in the early stage, and Rafa got broken again at 3-3. The American landed an ace in the eighth game to confirm the advantage, and the Spaniard asked for a medical timeout on his left hip.

Rafa left the court to receive the treatment and held in game nine to prolong the set despite an apparent struggle. McDonald brought the set home after Nadal’s forehand error at 5-4 and moved closer to the finish line. Rafa continued and gave his best in the third set despite struggling to run or hit a backhand.

He fired an ace on a 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 one to grab a decisive break. The American landed a service winner in game 12 to seal the deal and dethrone the Spaniard.

Nadal will not risk an early return, eager to get back at 100% and compete at his best, at least during the clay swing in April, May and June.

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