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BREAKING: Rafael Nadal withdraws from Wimbledon with abdominal tear; Nick Kyrgios moves into final
The Spaniard had won the season's first two majors titles, but won't get a chance to continue his quest for a calendar-year Grand Slam.
Published Jul 07, 2022
PRESS CONFERENCE: Rafael Nadal announces that he can't compete in the semifinals
Rafael Nadal will enter the US Open unbeaten at the majors in 2022, but holding only two Grand Slam titles.
On Thursday afternoon, Stuart Fraser of London's The Times first tweeted that 36-year-old would withdraw from Wimbledon, a day before he was scheduled to face Nick Kyrgios in the semifinals, due to an abdominal tear.
Shortly afterward, at a press conference, the Spaniard confirmed the report.
"Unfortunately, as you can imagine if I am here, I have to pull out from the tournament, no?" said Nadal. "As everybody saw yesterday, I have been suffering with the pain in abdominal.
"Even if I tried lot of times during my career to keep going under very tough circumstances, in that one I think it's obvious that if I keep going, the injury going to be worst and worst. That's the thing that I can say now. Feel very sad to say that."
Would Nadal have tried to play on if he was in the final? We'll never know. But he said he "made my decision because I believe that I can't win two matches under these circumstances," and that his serving was severely compromised, as was evident during his Wednesday quarterfinal against Taylor Fritz.
"As I always said, for me the most important thing is happiness more than any title, even if everybody knows how much effort I put to be here," said Nadal. "But I can't risk that match and stay two, three months outside of the competition because that's going to be a tough thing for me."
Nadal estimated that it will take "three, four weeks" to recover from the injury, and hopes to be hitting from the baseline in a week's time. But a firm timeline for his return to competitive action was unclear.
But he reiterated that he will continue playing.
"That helps to try to make the calendar that I want to do," he said.
Asked to point to a moment when the ab injury—which affected him in another match against Fritz, the Indian Wells final in March—Nadal mentioned 3-1 in the second set. Shortly after hitting a serve in that game, Nadal was seen with his head in his hands, grimacing on a changeover.
But Nadal stressed that he had no regrets over his choice to play on, despite recommendations from his player box to end the match.
"Yeah, was the right decision because I finished the match," he said. "I won the match. I did the things that I felt in every single moment.
On Wednesday, Nadal told press that "I wanted to finish. Doesn’t matter. Well, I prefer to win, with victory or defeat. That's what I did. Proud about the fighting spirit and the way that I managed to be competitive under that conditions.”
The decision puts Nick Kyrgios into his first Grand Slam final. The Aussie will face either Novak Djokovic or Cam Norrie in Sunday's final. Should Djokovic win Wimbledon, he'll move to within one Grand Slam singles title of Nadal's record 22.
Either way, the elusive calendar-year Grand Slam, which Djokovic came one match away from achieving last year, will go uncollected once again. This is the farthest Nadal has ever gone in trying to earn that goal.
"No, I never thought about the calendar slam," Nadal said when asked about his frustration. "I thought about my daily happiness and my daily work.
"Just play for the things that I really feel like, no?"