Australian tennis star Rennae Stubbs says Rafael Nadal played his LAST Australian Open after the Grand Slam legend pulled out injured with his wife crying in the stands
- Stubbs made the prediction after the Spaniard lost in the second round
- The 22-time Grand Slam champion suffered a painful injury in the loss
- Added to speculation he is fast approaching the end of his career
Australian tennis star turned commentator Rennae Stubbs believes Rafael Nadal has played his last Australian Open after the injured Spaniard great was knocked out of the grand slam in emotional scenes on Wednesday night.
Nadal’s wife Maria Perello broke down in tears in the stands when her husband lost to Mackenzie McDonald in three sets while suffering from a painful hip injury that required medical time off.
He left the court to a standing ovation from the packed crowd, marking the sixth time that injury or illness has plagued his Australian Open campaign.
The crowd’s outpouring of emotion – and Rafa’s reaction to it – prompted Stubbs to predict Australian fans would never see the 36-year-old play again in their home grand slam.
“Judging by that, I think this is the last time we’ll see this great champion on the Rod Laver Arena,” she wrote in a tweet Wednesday evening accompanied by images of Nadal waving to the crowd and returning his applause as he walked off the pitch. .
Stubbs made her prediction after watching the 22-time Grand Slam champion receive a standing ovation as she left the pitch with a painful injury on Wednesday
The star-turned-commentator divided fans with his message, with some agreeing while others believed Nadal would overcome the injury and return under
Stubbs’ take on the 22-time Grand Slam champion has divided fans online.
“Judging by that, he just lost a game and is going home to prepare for what’s next!” wrote a commenter.
‘Unfortunately, I think you’re right. I think his swan song will be at RG. He will play selected tournaments (Indian Wells being one of them) before that. He’s retiring after RG,’ Jon Robles tweeted, referring to Roland Garros, home of the French Open.
“Perhaps just a setback that any player at any stage of their career could suffer,” Melinda Crump wrote.
‘Yes I agree, he will bow out gracefully like Roger [Federer]’, added Karen Wadsworth.
The Spaniard absorbed a fond farewell as he left the Rod Laver Arena and later said he had returned from injury ‘too many times in my career’
Nadal’s wife Maria Perello was seen bursting into tears as her husband hobbled off the pitch for a medical timeout to have his hip checked.
After the match, Nadal, who has long recounted the constant physical and mental agony of being scrapped along with the pain of chronic injuries, gave the impression that he could barely bear the thought of having to go through even more trials to return to his best championship. .
“I really hope this doesn’t put me off the pitch for a long time,” he sighed, admitting he still didn’t know the nature of the hip problem that made him feel like he “couldn’t move” against American Mackenzie Macdonald in his straight-set loss.
“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.
“I’m ready to go on, I think, but it’s not easy.”
Last year, incredibly, he won in Paris unable to feel his left foot due to painkiller injections, but since suffering from abdominal and rib problems that destroyed his bids for Wimbledon and the US Open, he really looked like a shadow of his old self.
Rafa cut an unusually sad figure in his loss to Mackenzie McDonald
This time last year he had 21 straight wins to start 2022. Including his exit from the US Open, he won just two of nine games and it was his first outing at a Grand Slam since that he was beaten in the first round of the 2016 Australian Open. by Fernando Verdasco.
The good news? It’s Nadal’s love for the sport that will bring him back to the pits once again.
“It’s a very simple thing: I love what I do,” he said. ‘I like to play tennis. I know it’s not forever. I like to feel competitive. I like to fight for the things I’ve been fighting for almost half my life or 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 that was not my case.