Having endured injury setbacks last season, Rafael Nadal’s 2023 campaign started in disappointing fashion with a hip issue at the Australian Open.
Crashing out of the major event at Melbourne Park in the second round, there are concerns regarding the 36-year-old’s fitnessand whether he can reach the levels needed to add to his 22 Grand Slam titles this year.
More Injury Woes For Nadal In Melbourne
There was plenty of optimism about what Nadal could achieve in the first Grand Slam of 2023, with the Spaniard one of the title contenders in the outright Australian Open betting markets to go all the way. Nadal managed to win the tournament in Melbourne last year but his journey this time around came to an abrupt end in the second round. This is the earliest exit for Nadal at the Australian Open since back in 2016, when the likes of Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev were left as title candidates in the tennis betting tips.
It was Mackenzie McDonald who took down Nadal in the second round, winning 6-4, 6-3 and 7-5. While McDonald played well to reach the third round of the competition, an apparent hip injury certainly hindered Nadal at Melbourne Park.
Battling until the last in his typical style, ESPN reported Nadal did have to take a medical timeout at the back end of the second set against McDonald. The veteran looked in some discomfort and it was yet another injury setback for Nadal, who has been plagued by fitness issues over recent years.
While managing a chronic foot problem, an abdominal injury forced Nadal to withdraw from the semi-finals of last season’s Wimbledon Championships against Nick Kyrgios. Nadal had previously won the Australian Open and French Open last year and was on course for a clean sweep of the Grand Slam titles in 2022 before injury scuppered his chances at the All-England Club.
Concerns Ahead Of Paris
With Nadal determined to add to his 14 titles at his beloved French Open, there are concerns if his body will hold up to the rigours of the clay court tournament. Roland-Garros has been the scene of many of Nadal’s career highlights and is the reason
why the Spanish star is often referred to as the ‘King of Clay’.
Due to the countless hours of work in training behind the scenes throughout his career, Nadal’s physical strength and technical ability have seen him dominate on the clay surfaces at Roland-Garros. Winning his first Grand Slam in the French capital back in 2005, Nadal is hoping to land a 15th title at Roland-Garros this season.
Nadal and his coaching team will be working on getting the veteran back to full fitness after the BBC confirmed the disappointment the player felt after seeing his Australian Open journey cut short. While trying to keep on top of his chronic foot problem, fans will be hoping Nadal is close to top shape for his arrival in Paris in May.
At this latter stage of his career, Grand Slam tournaments with Nadal must be savoured and the 22-time Grand Slam champion will be hoping to bag at least one more major crown before he brings the curtain down on an illustrious career.