Defending champion Rafael Nadal hobbled out of the second round in a huge upset at the Australian Open on Wednesday, as Coco Gauff beat Emma Raducanu in a battle of the rising stars.
Nadal’s wife Mery was in tears as the injury-hampered Spanish great lost to 65th-ranked Mackenzie McDonald at Rod Laver Arena, where the roof was closed because of more rain in Melbourne.
The 36-year-old Nadal was clearly hindered by a hip issue that required a medical timeout, as he went down 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 to the American.
It was the reigning champion’s earliest exit from a major in seven years and will lead to more questions about whether injury and age are catching up with the record 22-time major champion.
The men’s title now looks Novak Djokovic’s to lose.
Nadal said defeat “hurt” and acknowledged that injuries were taking a toll.
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