Rafael Nadal, defending champion, was eliminated from the Australian Open 2023 in the second round. In the press conference, Rafa said: "I'm destroyed. The hip, yes. I've been feeling like this for a couple of days, but nothing that could make me think about what was going to happen." Nadal preferred to continue playing despite an injury and conclude his second Australian Grand Slam match against Mackenzie McDonald as reigning champion, to whom he obviously acknowledged the merit of a better match by a set and a half.
"I still don't know if it's a muscle or a joint. I've had hip problems in the past, I've had treatments, now I just feel like I can't move well and I think it shows. After the tests we will certainly know more. I don't know if I would have won the match under normal conditions.
I mean, he was playing at a very high level, but surely I would have had more chances. Obviously I considered withdrawing, but at the end of the treatment I didn't ask the physiotherapist. I had to know. And I just tried to play without causing myself any further physical damage.
I didn't even ask my box. I'm mature enough to make decisions like that on my own. Obviously as reigning champion I didn't want to retire, in the end it's better this way. I simply lost and I can only congratulate my opponent.
I think it's useless to tell you how I feel right now and what my sensations are, but in the end you can't do anything but keep going. Sometimes it's frustrating to accept, sometimes you just feel very tired from all these injuries.
Tomorrow will be another day, today I certainly can not say that life is great and that everything is fine. This is definitely a tough time, but as I repeat, you have to accept it. If I do what I do it's because I love tennis.
I know it's not forever. I like feeling competitive, I like fighting for the things that have made me fight for more than half my life. I don't think it's too complicated to understand, is it? I don't think mine are sacrifices, in the end I simply do what I like. Sacrifices are made when you do something you don't want to do and that's certainly not my case."
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