Wimbledon, England (AP) – Rafael Nadal withdrew from Wimbledon on Thursday due to a torn abdominal muscle, announcing his decision a day before he was due to play in the semifinals.
“Unfortunately, as you can imagine, if I stay here, I will have to withdraw from the tournament,” Nadal told a news conference at the All England Club.
The 22-time Grand Slam champion was due to face Nick Kyrgios for the berth in the final on Friday.
Kyrgios has advanced to its first final in a major tournament. He will meet Novak Djokovic or Cam Nori for the championship on Sunday.
Spain’s 36-year-old second-seeded Nadal is 19-0 in action at the 2022 Grand Slam, including a trophy at the Australian Open in January and the French Open in June. This gave him a half-way to a calendar-year Grand Slam for the first time in his career.
Nadal has been plagued by abdominal muscles for almost a week and the pain became almost unbearable in the first set of his 4-hour, 21-minute win over Taylor Fritz in the fifth set tiebreaker in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
After that match, Nadal said that he thought of stopping. He took a medical timeout to take painkillers and his father and sister signaled from the stand to let him go.
On Thursday holiday, Nadal went to the All England Club for light practice. He signed up for the official schedule for training at a competition court but did not attend, opting for a practice court where fans do not have access.
Mostly satisfied with hitting on the forehand and backhand, Nadal tried to serve a few – part of his game that showed the most obvious inability to play at full strength and, he said, caused the most discomfort against Fritz. These exercises on Thursday are usually used according to Nadal’s standards, not with any body-torturing effort he usually uses.
Not too far from what happened to Nadal at Roland Garros, where he took repeated injections to numb the chronic pain in his left leg and insisted he had no idea when he would be able to go to court.
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