Rafael Nadal entered the 2023 Australian Open as the defending champion and as the No. 1 seed.
But his time in Melbourne quickly came to an end, injuring his hip and losing to Mackenzie McDonald in the second round.
Nadal, who could miss six to eight weeks after an MRI, revealed a grade 2 left hip flexor injury, posted a message to his fans on Wednesday.
“Not the result I wanted, would have loved to continue my run here, but today it wasn’t possible,” Nadal posted to Instagram. “Mackenzie played at a great level and I wish him the best for the rest of the tournament.
“It’s always a pleasure to play in Australia. Many thanks to all for the support and the great moments you make me live here.
“Sad for leaving soon this great tournament and very thankful once again to all, fans, organizers, amazing crowds… Thanks Melbourne, Australia.”
Nadal pulled up in the second set against McDonald, leaving the court for medical treatment before returning. The 36-year-old was clearly hobbled and lost in three sets.
“It’s a tough moment. It’s a tough day,” Nadal said. “I can’t say that I am not destroyed mentally at this moment, because I would be lying.”
It’s the second time in three grand slam tournaments that an injury has impacted Nadal’s final result.
At Wimbledon over the summer, Nadal was forced to pull out of his semifinal match against Nick Kyrgios due to an abdominal strain.
“Sometimes it’s frustrating. Sometimes it’s difficult to accept,” Nadal said after his Australian Open loss. “Sometimes you feel super tired about all this stuff, in terms of injuries.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report