As third-round surprises go at this year's Australian Open, Mackenzie McDonald is one of the top seeds. On Thursday, the 192nd-ranked 25-year-old upset 22nd seed Borna Coric, 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 6-4, in a result that seemed inconceivable just a few years ago.
At the 2019 French Open, McDonald hobbled out of tournament after tearing his hamstring tendon off the bone during a doubles match. He was not able to walk for an extended length of time after undergoing surgery when he got back to the U.S.
“It took a really serious team and a lot of hard work,” McDonald said on My Tennis Life. “The surgery was pretty big. I have a massive scar underneath my butt and I wasn’t able to walk for the first month-and-a-half, two months. Time was going by really slowly. I didn’t leave my apartment. I was barely able to shower, go to the bathroom. I couldn’t walk.”
McDonald recovering from surgery:
The young American spent the rest of the 2019 season rehabbing the injury. But he was not sure if he was ever going to return to the tour.
“My injury was so severe in my opinion that I was just like, ‘I really hope I’m going to get back,’” he said. “I wasn’t on tour for a crazy long time. It hurt not playing tennis for that long.”
McDonald on crutches:
Slowly but surely, the former world No. 52 mhas been working his way back into form, mixing Challengers and main ATP events.
For his Aussie Open preparation, McDonald upset Richard Gasquet in the opening round of the Murray River Open last week before falling to home favorite Alex Bolt. In his first match this week, he took out Marco Cecchinato in four sets; for all of his efforts, he'll face Lloyd Harris in another winnable contest.
“I’ve been working hard, [had] a lot of preparation,” McDonald said. “I’m really excited to be playing matches again. I haven’t had many opportunities to come back after my injury, so I just want to keep playing good tennis and get back to where I belong.”