Defending champion Rafael Nadal crashed out of the Australian Open in round two to 65th-ranked American Mackenzie McDonald in a major upset Wednesday, his worst Grand Slam result in seven years.
The Spanish 36-year-old, who was struggling with what appeared to be a hip injury, slumped 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 at Rod Laver Arena.
Defeat opens the door for arch-rival Novak Djokovic to draw equal with Nadal’s record 22 Slam wins. The Serb is back in Melbourne after missing last year’s tournament when he was deported.
Top seed Nadal never settled, slumping a set behind before taking a medical timeout when a break down in the second set after hurting himself stretching for a forehand and grimacing in pain.
He battled on but was in clear discomfort with his movement hampered.
His wife Mery was seen in the crowd in tears.
“It was pretty tough to stay mentally engaged but I found a way to just pull it out,” said McDonald.
“He’s an incredible champion, he’s never going to give up regardless of the situation. I was trying to stay focused on what I was trying to do and he kind of got me out of my rhythm, and I just got through it.”
The last time Nadal fell so early at a Grand Slam was at…