Injured Rafael Nadal says he is “mentally destroyed” after his Australian Open title defense ended in the second round.
Spaniard Nadal suffered a left hip problem when he suffered a 6-4 6-3 7-5 loss to American Mackenzie McDonald.
The 36-year-old said he carried the injury before the game but the pain had “nothing to do with today”.
“I really hope this doesn’t put me off the pitch for a long time,” Nadal said.
“It’s not just the recovery. It’s the whole amount of work you have to put in to get back to a decent level.
“I’ve been through this process too many times in my career and I’m ready to continue. I think, but it’s not easy.”
Speaking in his post-match press conference, 22-time Grand Slam champion Nadal said he felt he ‘couldn’t move’ after his first Grand Slam outing since the Open Australia 2016, when he was eliminated in the first round.
“[I] I just can’t say I’m not mentally destroyed right now because I’m going to lie,” he said.
“I hope it’s nothing too serious. In the end [there] have been three positive weeks in terms of practice.”
Nadal trailed by a set and a break when he got injured, taking a medical time-out near the end of the second set before continuing.
He said he considered quitting “all the time” but “didn’t want to leave the court with a retirement”.
“Do your best until the end,” added Nadal, who won his second title in Melbourne 12 months ago. “It doesn’t matter what chances you have. That’s the philosophy of the sport.
“That’s the essence of the sport itself. I tried to follow that throughout my tennis career, and of course I tried not to increase the damage, because I didn’t know what was going on. “
It’s the latest in a series of physical problems for Nadal, who admitted he had no sensation in his left foot when he won the French Open last year due to injections of painkillers for the chronic injury.
He also pulled out of his semi-final at Wimbledon last year with an abdominal injury he picked up in the previous match, and the same injury later hampered him at the US Open, where he suffered a fourth-round outing against Frances Tiafoe and appeared to be injured. his coast.
He said it was his love of the sport that kept him going despite injury setbacks.
“It’s a very simple thing: I love what I do,” he said. “I love playing tennis. I know it’s not forever. I love feeling competitive. I love fighting for the things I’ve been fighting for for almost half my life, even more.
“When you do things that you love to do, at the end of the day, it’s not a sacrifice.
“Sacrifice is when you do things you don’t want to do. And I didn’t. But of course it’s tiring and frustrating to [spend] a big part of my tennis career was about the recovery process and trying to fight it all all the time.
“But I accept it pretty well throughout my tennis career, and I’ve been able to handle it well. But of course [the] The past seven months have been another difficult time. I don’t know what can happen in the future.”