Andy Murray could scarcely believe he managed to fight from two sets down to topple home favourite Thanasi Kokkinakis in five sets at the Australian Open.

In an epic match that began on Thursday but ticked well into the early hours of Friday in Melbourne, Murray prevailed 4-6 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 7-5 in the second-longest match in Australian Open history.

With the clock having ticked past 04:00am local time, the five-time finalist finally triumphed to become the first player in Open era history to win 10 grand slam matches having lost the opening two sets.

"I don't know. Unbelievable that I managed to turn that round," said Murray, who has reached the third round of the Australian Open for the first time since 2017.

"Thanasi was serving unbelievable. I don't know how I managed to get through it. Yeah, I have a big heart.

"I'm aware I don't look particularly happy when playing but I'm at my happiest on the inside.

"I've always loved competing and always showed my emotions when I've played. I've been criticised a lot for it over the years but that's who I am."

Finally, in a message to the fans that stuck around at Melbourne Park, Murray said: "Thanks so much to everyone for staying. It's ridiculously late. You didn't need to do that but it really helps me and Thanasi when we have all of you creating an amazing atmosphere. I think we should all get off to bed now."

Kokkinakis was in cruise control when he doubled his lead with a tie-break victory in the second set.

But he then appeared to start feeling the pressure in the third set, smashing his racquet following an angry dispute with the umpire after receiving a time violation.

Taking advantage of his opponent's loss of composure, Murray battled back from 5-2 down to force another tie-break, where Kokkinakis lost four points on his serve as the match was pushed to a fourth set.

Having been one game from defeat, the tide was turning in Murray's favour, as he teed up a decider that had looked so unlikely.

Murray spurned his first seven break points but brilliantly won his eighth attempt with the set tied at five games apiece, putting the former world number one on the verge of a stunning success.

He made no mistake as he clinched victory with a forehand winner, ending the match after five hours and 45 minutes.

Only the 2012 final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal (five hours and 53 minutes) beating it in terms of longevity in the tournament's history.

Ons Jabeur became the latest big-name casualty at the Australian Open when she suffered a second-round defeat to Marketa Vondrousova.

Jabeur has been hampered by knee and back injuries at the start of the season and the second seed suffered more pain on Rod Laver Arena, where the excellent Vondrousova sealed a 6-1 5-7 6-1 win in the early hours of Friday morning in Melbourne.

Vondrousova has been troubled by multiple wrist injuries since she was a runner-up at the French Open in 2019, but appears to have put those issues behind her.

The Czech left-hander dominated the first and final sets after Jabeur showed her fighting spirit in the second to force a decider at Melbourne Park.

A runner-up at Wimbledon and the US Open last year, tenacious Tunisian Jabeur appeared to be in some pain and struggling for breath during a match in which she made 50 unforced errors.

The world number two struck 27 winners to her opponent's 17, but followed the likes of Rafael Nadal, Casper Ruud and Emma Raducanu in making early exits when she overcooked a forehand.

Vondrousova, ranked 78th after an injury-hit 2022 season in which missed three of the four grand slams, will face compatriot Linda Fruhvirtova in round three.

 

Aryna Sabalenka was stuck in the biggest crisis of her tennis career 12 months ago, but the Belarusian big-hitter has found light at the end of a dark tunnel.

In a second-round win over Wang Xinyu at the 2022 Australian Open, Sabalenka served 19 double faults, and it was remarkable that she still pulled off the victory.

But it was no blip. In four matches, stretching from the 2021 WTA Finals to two tournaments in Adelaide at the beginning of the 2022 season, Sabalenka served a total of 74 double faults.

She considered it a success in round three at the Australian Open when she served 10 double faults against Marketa Vondrousova, such was the extent of her problem.

"I think it's more mental," Sabalenka said at the time, "because I put a lot of pressure on myself about my serve, and the last matches I was trying to control everything on my serve; my legs, my arm, the ball toss. And it was overthinking."

A year on, and Sabalenka is looking a different player, one that perhaps might finally be ready to win a singles grand slam.

That breakthrough might come this fortnight, with Sabalenka in scintillating form on Thursday as she beat Shelby Rogers 6-3 6-1 on Rod Laver Arena.

And here's the thing: she served three aces and not one double fault.

The yips have been cured.

"I worked a lot on my serve," said the 24-year-old after the Rogers match. "Like, really a lot. You can't even imagine how much I worked. I'm just super happy right now that everything is working.

"Oh, my God, I did almost everything to try to fix my serve. The whole year we were trying different things mentally, mental stuff, technique, technical, trying to breathe differently.

"I tried a lot. I watched a lot of different videos, from when I had no problems, when I had problems, trying to understand what is different."

Sabalenka had three double faults in her first-round win over Tereza Martincova, but three is fine, normal even. Zero in round two is something special.

The fifth seed will tackle Belgium's Elise Mertens on Saturday for a place in the last 16, knowing she managed to make it through to round four last year with a malfunctioning game.

The sky is the limit for Sabalenka if the serve is reliable. A three-time slam semi-finalist, her all-round numbers against Rogers were good, with 32 winners against 18 unforced errors a healthy ratio.

She reached the title match at the WTA Finals in November, a big moment at the end of a challenging year. Now a bigger goal is in her sights.

Novak Djokovic described his hamstring injury as "not good at all" after the muscle caused him fresh concern during a second-round win at the Australian Open.

The nine-time Melbourne Park champion needed off-court treatment in set two of his match against French qualifier Enzo Couacaud.

He lost that set, but Djokovic was able to step it up to complete a 6-1 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 6-0 victory over the world number 191.

Speaking afterwards, Djokovic was asked about the left hamstring and painted a bleak picture.

He told Eurosport: "It's not good at all, to be honest with you. I take it day to day. It was better last match, the feeling, than tonight.

"It's really up to God to help me, and the physio and everyone. I hope I'll be able to recover and be ready for a tough match-up next match."

Grigor Dimitrov awaits Djokovic in round three, with the Bulgarian a tricky customer, albeit one who trails 9-1 in the rivalry between the pair.

Djokovic's latest win, his 23rd match victory in succession at the Australian Open, was nothing if not eventful, with Couacaud turning his ankle early on and looking in danger of having to abandon the biggest match of his career.

Later on, Djokovic demanded the umpire take action after claiming rowdy fans were distracting him by shouting out.

"There was a lot happening in tonight's match," Djokovic said in an on-court interview.

"Enzo deserves credit for the fight. He played some great tennis, especially in the second set. I managed to respond well in the third and especially in the fourth. Let's keep it going."

Novak Djokovic avoided becoming the latest Australian Open seed to fall as he survived an injury scare to see off French qualifier Enzo Couacaud.

After Casper Ruud, Alexander Zverev and Taylor Fritz were all sent packing earlier on Thursday, the question was whether Djokovic would become the ultimate casualty on a day of shocks.

The nine-time champion was troubled by his left hamstring problem during the second set, which went the way of world number 191 Couacaud, but Djokovic reasserted himself to secure a 6-1 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 6-0 victory on Rod Laver Arena.

The Serbian became increasingly incensed by shouting from the crowd during the match, pinpointing one fan as a chief culprit and telling the umpire during the fourth set: "The guy is drunk out of his mind. I'm asking you what you're you going to do about it. You heard it at least 10 times; I heard it 50 times."

Djokovic appeared to be pointing towards a group in 'Where's Wally?' fancy dress, who were reacting as though they were enjoying the moment before being spoken to by tournament officials.

It was a surprise the match reached a fourth set.

Mauritius-born Couacaud turned his ankle in the fourth game of the contest and retreated to his chair, seemingly in tears as he looked to cover his face with his towel.

The 27-year-old received medical treatment, getting the ankle strapped up, and he gamely battled on, albeit struggling initially.

It was then Djokovic who needed an injury timeout in the second set, going off court when trailing 5-4 and feeling some discomfort in the hamstring that has been troubling him during the last fortnight.

Couacaud took advantage and won the set, but from that point on it became all Djokovic, as he moved through to round three.

Data Slam: Djokovic sets up Dimitrov clash

Next for Djokovic will be a battle with the 27th seed, Grigor Dimitrov. He described the Bulgarian as a good friend and said they were "Balkan brothers". The rivalry on the court has been emphatically one-sided between Djokovic and Dimitrov, though, with nine of their past 10 meetings having gone the way of the Serbian.

Dimitrov's lone win came on clay in Madrid in 2013, while it will be a third grand slam match between the pair, with Djokovic having notched up previous victories at the French Open and Wimbledon.

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Djokovic– 9/6
Couacaud – 7/2

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Djokovic– 63/36
Couacaud – 36/32

BREAK POINTS WON

Djokovic– 7/21
Couacaud – 0/1

Casper Ruud followed Rafael Nadal out of the Australian Open and admitted his decision to play through much of December rather than have an off-season may have been a mistake.

The Norwegian second seed, who reached finals at the French Open and US Open last year, had been hoping for another deep run this fortnight, only to run into an in-form Jenson Brooksby.

After a 6-3 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 defeat in three hours and 55 minutes on Rod Laver Arena, Ruud was asked about his decision to head to Latin America for a lucrative exhibition jaunt with Nadal at the end of the 2022 campaign.

He planned to take a break in February instead, but can now begin that early after going out in round two in Melbourne.

The same goes for top seed Nadal, who was already heading for defeat to Mackenzie MacDonald on Wednesday before an injury compounded his misery.

Ruud's initial reaction to being questioned about his busy December was to be defensive, saying: "It's very easy to sit here now and say that was bad for maybe both Rafa and I due to the fact that we lost early here.

"At the same time, I see no reason why we couldn't have a good Australian Open or made better results down here. I think it's coincidental sometimes."

He spoke of the talent among fellow tour players making every player vulnerable, and the "small margins" between victory and defeat.

Asked whether he had any break at all, Ruud outlined how he left for the Latin America trip on November 21 and returned in early December, before heading off on a week's holiday to the Maldives. He then stopped for a training block in Abu Dhabi on the way home and played two matches at the Mubadala exhibition event.

At the end of this season, Ruud might insist on a longer break and a focused training block.

"It was maybe not enough to be able to perform well here this year," Ruud said. "So it will be considered by me and my team what we will do in December this year, and if this was the right way to prepare for Australian Open or not.

"Maybe it looks like it was not the right way, but there are many factors that come into play. I have done what I felt was the right preparation but wasn't able to perform and win as many matches as I hoped here this year."

Taylor Fritz and Alexander Zverev were sent packing from the Australian Open as wildcard Alexei Popyrin and lucky loser Michael Mmoh sprang major shocks.

Australian Popyrin said he was living a dream after beating the fancied Fritz in an epic second-round match lasting four hours and two minutes on John Cain Arena.

American Mmoh, whose mother has Australian citizenship, knocked out former world number two Zverev just moments later on Margaret Court Arena.

Their exits followed the shock defeat for second seed Casper Ruud earlier in the day, as Novak Djokovic's half of the draw lost a host of big names.

Wildcard Popyrin won 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 6-7 (6-8) 6-2 against American eighth seed Fritz, revelling in the chants of "Popy" from the crowd afterwards.

The 23-year-old was close to tears, his voice breaking, after reaching the third round of a grand slam for the fifth time.

"This win, it means so much to me," Popyrin said. "I had the toughest year last year, didn't win many matches. I've won as many matches this year as I won in the whole of last year, and it's only January.

"Pre-season I put my head down and worked as hard as I could. I don't want that feeling I had last year ever again.

"I wrote that down to myself in my head, and I'm going to keep working, I'm going to keep pushing, I'm going to keep trying to go all the way."

Addressing the crowd, Popyrin added: "I love this feeling. I want more of this feeling. I want you guys to have this feeling more. I love you guys so much, thank you."

He is coached by former top-20 star Xavier Malisse and felt the Belgian's influence against Fritz.

"I was playing four hours, and me and my coach were locked in, it was like two against one against Fritzy. We had the same thoughts all the time," Popyrin said. "This is the dream for me and I don't want to wake up at all."

Mmoh was beaten by Aleksandar Vukic in the final round of qualifying but received a call into the draw at the last minute, after a late withdrawal, allowing him to cancel a flight home.

The world number 109 will face fellow American JJ Wolf next, for a place in round four, having ousted 12th seed Zverev 6-7 (1-7) 6-4 6-3 6-2.

Mmoh's father, Tony, represented Nigeria and won a match at the Australian Open in 1988.

"Life is crazy," Mmoh said. "Right when you think everything is looking dim, everything is looking dark, there's light at the end of the tunnel.

"My week is proof of that. I could easily have been in the States, was ready to be in the States, had my bag packed, my flight booked, I was meant to leave yesterday morning. The fact I'm playing Margaret Court is insane.

"If you look at my box over there, there's about five to seven Aussies. I used to come every single Christmas to visit them, unfortunately my mum couldn't be here, I feel like I'm half Australian because of them and I love you guys. This is like my second home now so might as well make it a homecoming.

"It's the biggest win of my career hands down. Coming out I felt the nerves a little bit. I settled down at the end of the first, and at that point I told myself I shouldn't even be here. I told myself on match point if I get a chance just go for it, because I shouldn't even be here."

Rafael Nadal faces up to eight weeks out of action with the hip flexor injury he sustained on his way out of the Australian Open.

The defending champion and top seed in Melbourne was bundled out 6-4 6-4 7-5 by world number 65 Mackenzie McDonald on Wednesday, struggling to move around the court during the closing stages of the contest.

He refused to retire and afterwards confirmed he aggravated an issue he had been suffering with for a couple of days. The 36-year-old Spaniard knew the problem he had been suffering with for a "couple of days" had worsened, but he was unsure exactly what was causing it.

Now Nadal has clarity, receiving details of the injury after tests on Thursday.

He knows that provided all goes to plan, he should be back on court for the clay-court stretch in Europe leading up to the French Open, where the 14-time winner is also the defending champion.

Nadal wrote on Twitter: "Good afternoon. I have carried out medical tests after the defeat yesterday. The MRI shows a grade two lesion in the iliopsoas of the left leg. Now it's sports rest and anti-inflammatory physiotherapy. Normal recovery time six to eight weeks."

The 22-time major winner may struggle to get back to full fitness in time for the Indian Wells and Miami Masters 1000 events in March.

Those are due to be preceded on his schedule by a high-profile exhibition match in Las Vegas against Carlos Alcaraz on March 5; however, both men are presently injured, raising doubts over whether that will go ahead.

Nadal was distraught to suffer yet another injury setback, after severe foot and abdomen problems hit his 2022 season.

"In terms of sports and in terms of injuries and tough moments, I mean, that's another one," Nadal said on Wednesday. "I can't say that I am not destroyed mentally at this time, because I will be lying."

Casper Ruud made two grand slam finals last year, but his 2023 Australian Open campaign fell to pieces with a shock second-round loss to 22-year-old Jenson Brooksby.

American Brooksby prevailed on his fifth match point, after fluffing three in the third set, when second seed Ruud hit a return long. That sealed a 6-3 7-5 6-7 (4-7) 6-2 victory in three hours and 55 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

Ruud's demise on Thursday means he joins top seed Rafael Nadal in exiting early in Melbourne, with the Norwegian departing in the Spaniard's wake after struggling through the first two sets before a medical time-out prior to the third.

Ruud staved off three match points at 5-3 down in the third, when Brooksby got tight with victory in sight, before winning the set in a tie-break.

However, Brooksby regained his composure in the fourth set and broke twice early to open up a 3-0 lead, barely looking back.

Brooksby's triumph is the biggest of his career, having only ever previously beaten one top-10 player, Stefanos Tsitsipas, at last year's Indian Wells. It also provides an early highlight in Brooksby's first Australian Open, having missed out in 2022 after testing positive for COVID-19 on the eve of the tournament.

"I was just really proud of my mental resolve after that third-set battle didn’t go my way," Brooksby said during an on-court post-match interview. "I thought I was playing really strong. I didn’t want to lose my focus out there."

Ruud, who was the runner-up at both the 2022 French Open and 2022 US Open, could not match Brooksby's 50 winners, while the Norwegian committed 55 unforced errors. He also failed to capitalise on Brooksby's unconvincing 57 per cent first-serve percentage.

 

Data Slam: Americans maintain winning form in men's singles

Brooksby's triumph sets up a third-round date with compatriot Tommy Paul as the Americans continue to make waves in the men's singles draw. It was another American, Mackenzie McDonald, who upset Nadal on Wednesday, while a flood of US stars have reached the third round.

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Brooksby – 2/2
Ruud – 5/4

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Brooksby – 50/48
Ruud – 33/55

BREAK POINTS WON

Brooksby – 9/13
Ruud – 4/12

Emma Raducanu hopes to face Coco Gauff again with a little more practice under her belt.

Raducanu lost 6-3 7-6 (7-4) to the 18-year-old American on Wednesday, as her Australian Open hopes were dashed.

The 2021 US Open champion failed to take two set points to restore parity at Rod Laver Arena, and ultimately paid the price when Gauff won the tie-break.

Raducanu suffered an ankle injury while in action at the Auckland Open earlier in January, and battled through the pain barrier to play in Melbourne.

"What I had to [do] to be in the draw is a massive effort and achievement," Raducanu said.

"I would say all the chips were against us, and the chances of me playing this tournament were very, very low.

"So I had extremely limited practice time, I think I can say that now I'm not competing anymore.

"It was obviously going to be a push to get me on the court. I think 13 days ago if you would have said 'Hey, you're going to be in the draw and win a round', it would have been a massive effort for sure.

"Saying that, I still think I didn't necessarily play my best [against Gauff]. Although the second set I had chances, I felt like I could have done better myself. But props to her. She's a great, great opponent and great athlete."

It was the first meeting between Raducanu and Gauff, who is ranked 70 places higher than the 20-year-old by the WTA.

Raducanu has slipped down to 77 in the world rankings but is confident she will give Gauff a sterner test the next time they go head-to-head.

"I'd really like to play her again. Maybe with more than five hours of practice under my belt," Raducanu said.

"Yes, she's a great opponent. I think that we're going to be playing each other many times in the future as we're both young and coming. We're going to be the next generation."

Raducanu is now looking forward to building up her fitness and form over the first half of the season.

"I'm just looking forward to putting in the work, and I feel I'm putting in a good system in place," she added.

"I'm feeling good and confident that in six months' time I know it's not going to be the finished product, but hopefully I would have made strides."

Coco Gauff may not be the most popular person on her own TikTok, but she impressed the crowds at Melbourne Park as she beat Emma Raducanu in straight sets.

In what was a much-anticipated clash at the Australian Open between the world number seven and the 2021 US Open champion, it was Gauff who emerged on top with a 6-3 7-6 (7-4) victory to seal passage to the third round.

It also made Gauff the first woman to win 100 Tour-level main draw matches before turning 19 since Caroline Wozniacki did so in 2009.

The 18-year-old took the opening set by stepping up her game on key points, breaking her British opponent twice while saving six of seven break points against her.

In an even second set, Gauff was forced to save two set points as Raducanu tried to take advantage of the American's struggling forehand.

However, Gauff hit back to force a tie-break that she won in style with a drop shot followed by a lob.

"I just told myself to hang in there and I was playing really good tennis," Gauff said in an on-court interview. "I think we both started off rocky but I think the match was good quality for the most part.

"Considering the circumstances I think both of us were nervous, this was a long-anticipated match basically since the draw came out so I'm glad that it was a good match for you guys.

"At a grand slam you have to win seven matches and you have to expect to play the best, obviously you hope it's not in the second round but what can you do?

"I feel like we handled the pressure really well and kudos to Emma, I know she had a tough week in Auckland [suffering an ankle injury] so good for her to be able to play at this level after such a scary moment."

Gauff also joked about a TikTok she recently posted that divided opinion on her parents' dancing ability.

"I posted a video online and it got like a million views and everyone was hating on my dad in the comments, so I kind of felt bad... parents really do anything for their kids so I'm glad my dad took one for the team."

Asked who is the best dancer of the three of them, she replied: "Probably my mom, at least that's what the comments said.

"They said my mom ate both of us up... a lot of people asked for a solo video just of her and I was like: 'No, I'm the star, how do I get outshined on my own TikTok?'"

Maria Sakkari laughed off any suggestion of a "Netflix curse" after a comeback win over Diana Shnaider at the Australian Open.

Sakkari, seeded sixth in Melbourne, came from a set down to beat Shnaider 3-6 7-5 6-3 on Wednesday.

That marked the Greek's fifth career comeback win in a grand slam main draw, though her first since the fourth round at the 2021 US Open against Bianca Andreescu, and her first at the Australian Open.

Across this season and last year, Sakkari has played 25 Tour-level matches that have gone the distance, with only Ons Jabeur (26), Belinda Bencic (27) and Aryna Sabalenka (28) having played more three-set matches in the same timeframe.

Sakkari was one of nine players (four from the WTA Tour, five from the ATP Tour) to feature in Netflix's new Break Point series, which was launched on the streaming platform earlier this month.

However, three of those players – Nick Kyrgios, Ajla Tomljanovic and Paula Badosa – had to withdraw from the season's first grand slam due to injuries, while Matteo Berrettini was defeated by Andy Murray in his first-round match.

Yet Sakkari does not believe in such superstitions as a "Netflix curse".

"Netflix curse? I have never heard that," Sakkari said.

"I mean, the only one that I can think of is Matteo, but Matteo lost his match 7-6 on the fifth set. I personally have to say that they only bring us luck, and I enjoyed my time with them because they are nice people.

"Trust me, they are very, very nice. You know, if you let these thoughts and this energy affect you, then it's when bad luck comes.

"I would say that because they are all very nice and they are all very respectful, they have only brought me good luck."

She smiled: "Obviously some tournaments I play badly because I play badly. It's not because of them! But, yes, overall it has been great."

Shnaider, in her first meeting with Sakkari, became the first female qualifier to win the opening set at the Australian Open against a top-eight seeded opponent since Angelique Kerber against Svetlana Kuznetsova in 2010.

Sakkari will face Lin Zhu in the third round, after the latter's win over Jil Teichmann.

The pair have only met once before, in qualifying for the 2016 Australian Open, with Sakkari coming out on top.

Jessica Pegula has been wearing a number three on her outfit at the Australian Open, and she confirmed it is to show support to Damar Hamlin.

Buffalo Bills safety Hamlin went into cardiac arrest during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals on January 2 and spent over a week in hospital, much of that time in critical condition.

Pegula's parents own the NFL franchise as well as the Buffalo Sabres NHL team, and during her second-round win over Aliaksandra Sasnovich in Melbourne, was seen with a number three on her skirt, which is Hamlin's number and became a symbol of appreciation from well-wishers during his recovery.

"I definitely wanted to do something," Pegula said after her 6-2 7-6 (7-5) victory over Sasnovich. "We were kind of figuring out what the Bills and the Sabres were doing, just as far as what was the message.

"I knew they would probably do something and what message were they trying to send. It ended up being [that] the three was the symbol.

“I just thought it would be cool to put on my outfit here. I thought it would be a fun way to kind of connect with the team and then also just show my support."

There had been speculation that the number was related to her ranking, with the 28-year-old coincidentally the WTA world number three heading into the Australian Open, where she is the third seed, but Pegula laughed off the suggestion.

"I saw someone tweet that: 'Why would you put your ranking on your skirt?'. I'm, like, 'No, that’s not why,'" she said with amusement.

Pegula will play the winner of Olivia Gadecki and Marta Kostyuk in round three at Melbourne Park.

Rafael Nadal refused to retire from his second-round match at the Australian Open despite suffering a hip injury in his shock defeat.

The reigning champion and top seed in Melbourne crashed out on Wednesday, going down 6-4 6-4 7-5 to world number 65 Mackenzie McDonald.

Nadal started sloppily in the first set and then pulled up with an apparent upper leg issue after chasing a forehand at 4-3 down in the second, and his movement was clearly hampered from that point on.

The 36-year-old confirmed he aggravated an issue he had been suffering with for a "couple of days" prior to his meeting with McDonald.

Nadal could well have handed McDonald a walkover, but explained that as defending champion, he did not want to go out without a fight.

"I considered all the time stopping, but I didn't ask," he said in a press conference. "I have to know myself, and I tried to keep playing without increasing the damage.

"I was not able to hit the backhand at all. I was not able to run for the ball. But I just wanted to finish the match. That's it.

"I didn't ask them [his team]. I am old enough to take my own decisions. I didn't want to retire, [as] defending champion here. No, I didn't want to leave the court with a retirement.

"It's better like this. I lost. Nothing to say. Congratulations to the opponent. Just try your best till the end, it doesn't matter the chances that you have.

"That's the philosophy of the sport. That's the essence of the sport by itself. I tried to follow that during all my tennis career, and I tried of course to not increase the damage, because I didn't know what's going on."

Nadal, who is the first top seed to go out in the second round of the Australian Open since Gustavo Kuerten in 2001, is unsure as to the extent of his injury.

"I don't know what's going on, if it's a muscle, if it's a joint. I have history in the hip, I had issues. I had to do treatments in the past," he said.

"Now I feel I cannot move. But I don't know till I do the test and all this stuff, I don't know. I don't know.

"I'm tired of talking about it. I understand, but I lost the match. That's it. I tried until the end. I don't know if in good condition I would win the match. I will have better chances without a doubt."

Nadal added that he would be "lying" if he said he had been mentally destroyed by the issue, given the comfort of his life outside tennis.

However, the 22-time grand slam champion is still motivated to return to the court.

"It's a very simple thing: I like what I do. I like playing tennis," he added.

"I know it's not forever. I like to feel competitive. I like to fight for the things that I have been fighting for almost half of my life or even more. 

"It's not that complicated to understand, no? When you like to do one thing, sacrifices always make sense. When you do things that you like to do, at the end of the day, it's not a sacrifice. You are doing the things that you want to do. Sacrifice is when you are doing things that you don't want to do."

The Spaniard conceded another long spell away from the court would be difficult, though.

He said: "Of course it's tiring and frustrating to spend a lot of [this] part of my career recovering and trying to fight against all this stuff all the time.

"I have had seven months playing almost nothing, and then if I have to spend a long time again, then it's super difficult in the end to be in rhythm and to be competitive and to be ready for the fight. Let's see how the injury is, and then let's see how I can manage to follow the calendar."

Mackenzie McDonald produced one of the upsets of the Australian Open on Wednesday as he eliminated defending champion Rafael Nadal 6-4 6-4 7-5 in the second round, with the Spaniard hampered by an apparent leg injury.

There were ominous signs early on as number one seed Nadal had his serve broken in the opening game of the match, and McDonald secured a second break en route to wrapping up the first set.

It was more of the same in the second as McDonald took advantage of some uncharacteristically sloppy play from the 36-year-old, before Nadal seemed to hurt himself.

At 4-3 down in the second set, Nadal pulled up with an apparent upper leg issue after chasing a forehand, and his movement was clearly hampered from that point on.

In typical defiant fashion, Nadal's level rose in the third, hitting 24 winners, but as he improved, so did McDonald, who did not allow Nadal a single break point opportunity.

The 22-time grand slam champion saved break point at 4-4 to hold serve as he tried to get back into the contest, but was unable to repeat the trick in his next service game as McDonald secured the break before serving out to clinch a famous win.

It is the latest in a troubling run of form for Nadal, who received multiple injury timeouts on his way to a seventh loss from his last 10 matches dating back to the US Open.

McDonald will play the winner of Yoshihito Nishioka and Dalibor Svrcina in the third round.

Data Slam: Nadal joins dubious company as top-seed casualty

Nadal is the first top seed to be eliminated from the Australian Open in the second round since Gustavo Kuerten in 2001.

The Brazilian was also a clay specialist, winning all three of his grand slams at the French Open.

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Nadal – 6/2

McDonald – 14/2

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Nadal – 42/31

McDonald – 42/22

BREAK POINTS WON

Nadal – 2/4

McDonald – 5/8

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