Alex de Minaur in brutal tennis fallout after devastating Rafa Nadal loss at Madrid Open

The Aussie was left seeking answers after one of his worst displays in 2024.

Aussie tennis ace Alex de Minaur has been delivered a brutal blow having dropped out of the world top 10 after his loss to Rafa Nadal as his poor from on clay continues. De Minaur headed into the clash against Nadal looking to create further history after he became the only Aussie in history to defeat the Spaniard on clay.

And de Minaur did it in emphatic fashion at the Barcelona Open having outplayed the tenacious Spaniard on his favourite surface. Unfortunately, de Minaur wasn't able to capitalise on the epic victory having then been eliminated in the next round to Arthur Fils. This meant de Minaur couldn't build on his ranking, which has seen him yo-yo in-and-out of the top 10.

Aussie tennis ace Alex de Minaur (pictured) has dropped outside of the world top 10 after his loss to Rafa Nadal ahead of Roland Garros. (Getty Images)
Aussie tennis ace Alex de Minaur (pictured) has dropped outside of the world top 10 after his loss to Rafa Nadal ahead of Roland Garros. (Getty Images)

Heading into the Madrid Open, de Minaur and Nadal met once again in the second round. The Spaniard was only playing his fourth match since January and Nadal talked down his chances against the Aussie. Although the Spaniard was a different beast on the court in Madrid as he managed to lift his game and reverse the fortunes to win in straight sets.

De Minaur was well below his best and racked up an uncharacteristic 33 unforced errors in the match. American tennis writer Ricky Damon labelled de Minaur's game as 'horrendous' with too many errors.

De Minaur was also left disappointed with his own performance with history on the line. “Conditions in Madrid make it trickier to play the way you wanna play,” he said after the match. “You play in Barcelona then all of a sudden this match over here everything doubles. All the outside noise doubles. I wish I would’ve played better but his level lifted and he was looking quite good out there.”


And as a result of his exit, de Minaur failed to become the first man to knock Nadal out of successive tournaments since Roger Federer did so in 2017. And in a further blow to de Minaur's chances heading into the next two grand slams, the Aussie dropped outside of the world top 10.

Entering the tournament as the World No.9, de Minaur has dropped back to World No.11. The Aussie has a golden chance to boost his ranking ahead of the grass court campaign in the next few weeks.

In 2023, de Minaur was eliminated in the first round of the Italian Open and he didn't make it past the second round at Roland Garros. De Minaur may not have always found success on clay throughout his career, but the 25-year-old has improved his groundstrokes in 2024.

The extra-weight behind the shots could see him in good stead come the next two clay court tournaments, before Wimbledon comes around. An improved performance in Rome and then in Paris would be a major boost for the 25-year-old as the grass court season starts. However, de Minaur will be ruing the missed opportunity to take on unseeded star Pedro Cachin in the next round.

Even before the match, Nadal said he would be 'shocked' if he managed to beat de Minaur in their second-round match after progressing through the first round against World No.1028 Darwin Blanch. Nadal had not defeated a world top 20 player since 2022. And when asked if he felt back to his best after knocking out de Minaur, Nadal was quick to quell the excitement. "No, not yet no, I need time," he said during his on court interview.

"I'm still on an up, super-happy now to be able to be competitive against a great player like Alex for over two hours, it means a lot to me. The immediate future? I don't know, I really believe tennis hasn't been an issue the last two years, more the physical issues. If I'm able to play weeks in a row, I'll see how far I can go and how competitive I could be. But step by step, let's see how I recover really."

Alex de Minaur reacts to a point.
Alex de Minaur (pictured) failed to defeat Rafa Nadal at the Madrid Open.