Rafael Nadal has had to withdraw from Wimbledon ahead of his semi-final clash with Nick Kyrgios due to the abdominal tear he suffered on Wednesday.
Nadal practised at the All England Club on Thursday ahead of the last-four clash with the Australian, but he then called a press conference for the evening in which he confirmed that he had been forced to pull out.
The legendary Spaniard had been on course to win a third successive Grand Slam this season after his incredible triumphs at the Australian Open and French Open. As a result, Kyrgios has received a walkover into the final.
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It has been reported in the Spanish press that medical tests revealed he suffered a seven-millimetre tear in one of his abdominal muscles during the quarter-final against Taylor Fritz. According to Cadena Ser, Nadal appeared at the All England Tennis Club at 2pm on Thursday, and minutes later, he began training to prepare for the semi-final.
The Spaniard somehow managed to continue his quest to secure a historic Calendar Slam in 2022 after he roared back to beat Fritz in a marathon quarter-final. It took all of Nadal's famous mental strength and physical resilience to come through the encounter with a scoreline of 3-6 7-5 3-6 7-5 7-6 to reach the semi-finals.
But while he managed to pull through the match with Fritz, he has come to the decision that he will not be able to compete at a sufficient level against Kyrgios on Friday.
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“As you can imagine, I am here because I have to pull out from the tournament," Nadal said in the hastily-arranged press conference. "As everybody saw yesterday, I have been suffering with pain in my abdomen.
"It wasn’t okay then, and now it’s confirmed. I have a tear in the abdominal muscle. The communication is too late. I was thinking the whole day about the decision to make, but I think it doesn’t make sense [to continue]. Very tough circumstances; it’s obvious that if I keep going, the injury will worsen. I’m very sad to say that.
“I made my decision because I believe that I cannot win two matches under these circumstances. I can’t serve at the right speed; I can’t do normal movements. I can’t imagine myself winning two matches like this, and for respect for myself in a way, I don’t want to go out there and not be competitive enough to play at the level I need to play at to achieve my goal.
"There would have been a big chance of making things worse, and to be honest, a couple of weeks ago, I was in a difficult place with my foot injury, and now things are better in that case.
"For me, the most important thing is happiness; more than any title, even if everybody knows how much effort I put in to be here. I can’t risk that match and stay two, three months out of competition because that would be a tough thing for me.”
Eurosport's Mats Wilander had said he was "completely amazed" that he even managed to come through his quarter-final given the severity of the abdominal tear he suffered.
"Nadal is very talented tactically. I think he knew that he could still beat Taylor Fritz despite the injury, even if he’s not 100 per cent physically," Wilander said.
"But at the same time, not being 100 per cent physically means you can hit the ball better because you are more relaxed and it’s clearer to you about how you need to play: you can’t hit hard first serves, so have to put it in play, and then work the point from there.
"I’m completely amazed because I thought he was going to retire towards the end of the first set. He somehow won the second, and then it seemed like he was getting better.
"The most important part is that it didn’t affect his running. That’s the biggest difference when you’re injured: if you can’t run, it’s difficult to finish the match. But you can’t just serve, hit a two-handed backhand or a top-spin forehand.
"Should he have been good enough to win it? No, I don’t think so. Taylor Fritz, I’m not sure how he feels."
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Watch daily highlights from Wimbledon at 10pm on Eurosport 2 and discovery+ from June 27, as well as the two singles finals live on July 9 and 10.
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