For the eighth time in his illustrious career, Rafael Nadal defeated Taylor Fritz in a thrilling five-set match to reach the Wimbledon semifinals.
After winning, the Spaniard will not be competing in the tournament. Before his semifinal matchup with Nick Kyrgios, Nadal has announced his withdrawal from Wimbledon, according to Stuart Fraser of The Times.
As a result, Kyrgios may receive a victory by default, enabling the Australian to play in his first Grand Slam final.
Nadal said at a press conference: “Unfortunately as you can imagine I am here because I have to pull out from the tournament.
“As everyone saw yesterday I have been suffering with a pain in the abdominal and something was not OK there. That is confirmed, I have a tear in the muscle and the communication is too late.
During the match against Fritz, Nadal was dealing with an abdominal injury. The 36-year-old said that although the discomfort he was feeling on Wednesday almost forced him to leave the game, the injury had first surfaced a week earlier.
“For a lot of moments,” Nadal said, per ESPN, “I was thinking, ‘Maybe I will not be able to finish the match.”
Nadal, innately, prevailed in the lengthy, five-set match, which took place over the course of more than four hours, and won 3-6, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (10-4). That guaranteed him the opportunity to face Kyrgios, though Nadal wasn’t certain he would be able to.
On Thursday, Nadal underwent testing for the injury that grew worse over the course of his protracted struggle with Fritz. He later withdrew from the competition, so clearly they didn’t go well.
For Nadal, dealing with injuries is nothing new. Due to a rare foot condition called Mueller-Weiss syndrome, which wears down the bones in the feet, he has previously had to miss events or be forced to retire. After suffering a foot injury that hindered him during his French Open victory, he wasn’t even sure if he would participate in Wimbledon.
However, the abdominal problem is uncharted territory, and Nadal seems to have realised he couldn’t win another match while still experiencing its aftereffects.
“It’s difficult,” Nadal said of playing through the injury. “Nothing can be fixed when you have a thing like this. That’s it.”