After managing to win over Taylor Fritz in the quarter-final despite an abdominal injury, Rafael Nadal was set to face Nick Kyrgios for the Wimbledon semi-final clash. But Nadal announced Thursday that he will withdraw instead, giving Kyrgios a walkover to the Final.
News reports revealed that medical tests showed Nadal suffered a seven-millimetre tear in one of his abdominal muscles during the match against Taylor Fritz. He did appear at the All England Tennis Club at 2pm on Thursday for training.
But later on, he called a press conference for the evening and confirmed that he had been forced to pull out. He decided that after the match with Fritz, he would be able to compete at a sufficient level against Kyrgios.
For Eurosport’s Alex Corretja, what Nadal did was a “smart decision.”
“It’s a pity, yes, but honestly, it was expected. I know that he fought so hard yesterday to beat Taylor Fritz, but today he tried and he realised that he had no chance to compete at the highest level, to beat Kyrgios and most likely [Novak] Djokovic or [Cameron] Norrie in the final,” Corretja said.
“For him to play on two days in these circumstances, it was going to be very difficult. I know it’s difficult for him to make the decision, but I think it’s a smart decision because if you can’t play at your top level, it’s going to be almost impossible to win the Slam.
“I believe the most important thing for him now is to recover and take time off because if you get a tough injury, like three or four months again, away from the tournaments it will be devastating for his mind and for his goals for the year.”
“We always support Rafa – especially now – and it’s a shame. If he knew that he wouldn’t be able to play the semi-final, I’m sure he would have retired. But he didn’t, and he thought that he might have a chance.”
During the press conference, Nadal said: “As you can imagine, I am here because I have to pull out from the tournament. 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.”
Nadal further explained:
“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.”
“I never thought about the Calendar Slam. I thought about my diary and happiness. Australia wasn’t an issue; I didn’t have many problems during the tournament. I came back off a long period of time injured, and Roland-Garros was very demanding, mentally and physically.”
“Things were going better after that, but the fact that I was here shows how important this tournament is for me and how much I wanted to play here. I did all the things in the best way possible to give myself a chance here and I am in the semi-finals, playing well the last couple of days. Even if that makes me feel a little bit worse, I feel that at the same level that I was playing at I would have had a chance.”
“I found a way to finish the match, which is something that I’m proud of. I had some abdominal issues, things were more or less under control, but yesterday was the worst day and it’s obvious that after the match the very small thing I had days ago increased to a bigger thing. [I should be out] for about three or four weeks – that’s the norm with these kinds of injuries.”
“Yesterday, as I said, I wanted to finish the match. I finished with a victory, but then I needed to do all the things that I had to do. The test says that I have what I have. There is always a choice, but in this particular case, it is not like the foot that I know that the injury is there and the injury will not get worse. In this particular case, it’s obvious that if I keep going, the injury is going to be increasing,”
Nadal was on his way to win a third successive Grand Slam this season after his magnificent triumphs at the Australian Open and French Open.