January 18, 2023
Rafael Nadal and Emma Raducanu have crashed out of the Australian Open.
Both looked in discomfort as they were defeated in straight sets.
Nadal was shattered and his wife was in tears as the great champion came to the end of the road in Melbourne.
Rafael Nadal deserves a deeper Grand Slam run at Wimbledon 2023 if his body can mend.
Meanwhile Raducanu had two set points to level up against Coco Gauff. She threw both away by trying showboat shots when she only needed to play the percentages to prevail.
The same happened in the fatal tie-break, as Gauff somehow closed out the match 6-3, 7-6 (7-4). Raducanu has all the talent – but it felt like she beat herself with unforced errors.
It does seem that Emma is crying out for a more experienced coach to help her make better decisions at key moments.
The bigger long-term concern is for Nadal, who revealed he has a hip problem and could barely move the way he wanted while a worried world looked on.
There was a poignant moment at the end of Rafa’s second set against Mackenzie McDonald.
He knew the game was up. A rueful smile crept across the Spaniard’s face. A face that has seen it all during decades in his beloved sport.
Nadal looked up to the heavens, taking in the arena, reflecting perhaps on the previous year when he won here.
In those moments, you could almost read his mind. It was as if he was saying goodbye. Privately. Personally.
This was long before he waved to the adoring crowd at the end of what must have been a painful experience, as the plucky American came through 6-4, 6-4, 7-5 for the win of his life.
We will still hope to see Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon 2023.
Rafa said later of his hip issue: ‘I don’t know if it’s a muscle or if it’s a joint or cartilage. We’ll do all the tests.
‘I cannot say I am not mentally destroyed. That would be lying. I just hope it’s not serious.’
Nadal will be desperate to get fit in time for one last hurrah at Roland Garros.
Then the immaculate lawns of Wimbledon will beckon – and we pray Nadal won’t be able to resist.
Is this his final year at the top of tennis? Probably. But what a legend. What a warrior.
Come and see Rafael Nadal, Emma Raducanu and all the best players in the world at Wimbledon 2023.
We’re waiting to help you make that happen!