© Mike Lawrence/ATP Tour

Mackenzie McDonald came into the Miami Open main draw as a lucky loser.

McDonald Marooned On I-95 After Late-Night Flat

Girlfriend's car breaks down on interstate highway

It takes a lot to deflate a lucky loser who has just toughed out a first-round third-set tie-break win at ATP Masters 1000 level. But standing on the side of Interstate 95 just north of Miami at close to three o'clock in the morning is enough to dampen any man's mood.

So it was for American Mackenzie McDonald, who went from the high of a 6-4, 6-7(4), 7-6(4) win over #NextGenATP Frenchman Ugo Humbert in the early hours of Friday morning to digging out his auto club card at 2.40 a.m. when his girlfriend's car suffered a flat tyre.

“I pulled out of here and the car just felt a little weird. My girlfriend (former NCAA singles All-American Chanelle Van Nguyen) was in the car with me and I just kept driving and she said drive slowly. I was like alright, we just have to get home, it’s only 15 miles away,” McDonald said. “I was going 60 miles per hour in like the fourth lane and all of a sudden the tyre just literally busted. The car was swerving a bit. Luckily there was nobody on the road that early and I just put the hazards on, went over to the side, and was stuck on the I-95.”

McDonald’s girlfriend lives in Florida, so the World No. 60 is staying at her home about 15 miles away from Hard Rock Stadium, the venue for this ATP Masters 1000 tournament. McDonald himself drove home after his marathon two-hour, 42-minute victory, his first-ever win at the event.

One moment he was excited, and the next he was disappointed after feeling his tyre’s rim scraping on the concrete.

“I just had to take care of it and get home. The first thing on my mind was getting home. I just did what I had to do and dealt with it,” McDonald said. “We didn’t have a spare tyre. We had no way of getting the car home, so we needed a tow truck. My girlfriend’s Dad came with another car. As soon as he came with the other car we swapped and my girlfriend and I drove home. I left him with the car because I had to get home. We got home around 4:00 a.m.”

Not only did McDonald need to recover for his next singles match on Saturday against reigning Next Gen ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas, but he had a doubles match to play alongside countryman Reilly Opelka on Friday.

“It was really tough. I didn’t eat dinner last night, either. I just wanted to get home and get to bed. I had trouble sleeping, especially after that win, too and everything going on and knowing I had doubles in like 12 hours,” McDonald said. “I woke up at 11, kept waking up, finally woke up at 11, got some food in me. I was pretty tired during that doubles, so it’s a good feeling now.“

While McDonald and Opelka lost against second seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, McDonald will have to reset for his clash with Tsitsipas. The American lost in the second round of qualifying against Italian Lorenzo Sonego. But after gaining new life as a lucky loser, winning a marathon and dealing with a late-night flat, he’ll hope to get back to business on Saturday.

“It’s all good now,” McDonald said. “It’s the first time I got into a tournament as a lucky loser and won a match at the pro level. For me, it’s actually really weird losing and then still being in the tournament. I’m playing really good tennis… and I think that showed yesterday. Now it’s just about resting up and I’ll be ready for tomorrow.”