Nadal is out of the first slam of the year and I don’t think it’s such a bad thing. Come what may Rafa’s status in the tennis HOF is secure. Sometimes one needs that defeat that signals your time is up. This is one such for the Spaniard. Rafa looked a step slower and immobile compared to last season. Watch 4-3 MacDonald 30-15. The normally great footwork on the baseline was so poorly executed the normally good forehand followed suit. Normally he allows himself a step back to get the angle right. Mackenzie MacDonald is an American player who is a late bloomer for me, having had his best singles season last year aged 27.The only thing left on his CV is that title, any title. Nifty mover on court, check out 5-4 set point on deuce with a great defensive game to boot, check out first game of second set 0-15 on the Nadal racquet. First of all when you defense lob, it is unusual and also risky to not go center court. The payoff was the overhead smash error from Rafa of which the Spaniard wasn’t at all comfortable executing.
This was the best game of the entire match and Rafa losing his serve so early in the set was the point of no return. How on earth did Mackie get the ball back from the Rafa serve at 0-40? Not all doom and gloom for the 22 time times Grand Slam champ. Check out 2-0 Mackie first point, turning back the years with that serve and volley play that won him Wimbledon all those years back. Too bad it didn’t happen often in this match. Not to be hard on Rafa be looked to be carrying an injury. Having gone back on serve he pulled up during the eighth game. It’s a testament to his sportsmanship that he continued even though he could have easily forfeited. Thus the odds were heavily staked against him going into the third set two love down. So going to an twelfth game of the last set was an achievement worth its flowers. The key to prolonging the match for Rafa was to shorten the point by going to the net more. Check out 3-3 (15-0). The emotion on the Nadal team after the match may signal the end is nigh. Time will tell.