Injured Nadal pulls out of Wimbledon
The decision means Australia’s Nick Kyrgios receives a walkover to the final
Rafael Nadal has pulled out of the Wimbledon semifinals with an abdominal injury, meaning Nick Kyrgios has been handed a shot at a first Grand Slam title in Sunday’s final at the All England Club.
Nadal announced the news at a press conference on Thursday evening in London, saying the abdominal tear which hampered him throughout his five-set quarterfinal win against Taylor Fritz one day previously was too serious for him to contemplate another match at the tournament.
The decision ends Nadal’s pursuit of a calendar Grand Slam after he had already picked up titles at the Australian and French Opens so far this year.
“Unfortunately as you can imagine I am here because I have to pull out from the tournament,” said the 36-year-old.
“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.
“I was thinking the whole day I was thinking about the decision to make but I think it doesn’t make sense to go, even if I try through my career to keep going.
“It is very tough circumstances but it is obvious if I keep going the injury will be worse and worse.”
Nadal had been seen at the Wimbledon practice courts Thursday. It was reported in the Spanish media that despite a 7mm abdominal tear being detected, he was still aiming to make his Centre Court meeting with Kyrgios on Friday.
Nadal said the decision to pull out had partly been taken after he understood he could not complete his service action properly.
“I make the decision because I don’t believe I can win two matches under the circumstances,” said the 22-time Grand Slam champion.
“After that to imagine myself winning two matches, and for respect for myself in some way, I don’t want to go out there and not be competitive enough to play at the level I need to play to achieve my goals.”
Nadal is unbeaten in Grand Slams this year after returning brilliantly from a layoff lasting several months at the end of last season because of a foot injury.
Nadal revealed after his triumph at Roland-Garros last month that he had needed pain-killing injections to deal with his foot ailment, although at Wimbledon it is another problem which has caused a premature end to his campaign.
The Spaniard had been aiming for a third Wimbledon title in total and a first on the grass courts of SW19 since 2010.
His untimely exit means that Kyrgios, who defeated Chile’s Cristian Garin in straight sets in their quarterfinal to reach the last four of a Grand Slam for the first time, is now into a maiden final at a major.
The Australian, 27, does so in a week when it was revealed that he is facing assault charges against his former girlfriend back in his homeland.
Kyrgios will meet the winner of Friday’s other semifinal which will go ahead, where top seed Novak Djokovic takes on Cameron Norrie, the ninth-seeded Brit appearing in the last four of a Grand Slam for the first time.
Djokovic is aiming for a fourth straight Wimbledon title and seventh in total. Victory at SW19 would also move the Serb to within one Grand Slam title of Nadal’s all-time record haul.
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