Rafael Nadal dramatically PULLS OUT of Wimbledon on the eve of his semi-final against Nick Kyrgios with an abdominal tear… giving the Australian bad boy a free pass into Sunday’s Centre Court final
- Rafael Nadal struggled through semi-final win despite abdominal issue
- Injury proved too much and he pulled out of a practice session on Thursday
- His withdrawal means Nick Kyrgios has been given a free pass to the final
- He will face the winner of Novak Djokovic vs British No 1 Cameron Norrie
The 36-year-old Spaniard announced he was pulling out after a 45 minute practice session earlier on Thursday in which he clearly looked hampered.
By doing so he gave Nick Kyrgios a free pass into what will be his first grand slam final.
Rafael Nadal held a press conference to announce his withdrawal from Wimbledon
Nadal was struggling with an abdominal problem in his quarter-final win over Taylor Fritz
Nick Kyrgios has been given a bye to the final with Nadal unable to compete
The 27-year-old Australian will meet the winner of Novak Djokovic versus cam Norrie in an altered Centre Court schedule.
Nadal stays unbeaten at Slams in 2022 after winning the Australian and French Opens. He decided that the abdominal injury hindering his serve was not going to allow him to compete properly.
Nadal’s unlikely push for the calendar Grand Slam was always likely to be derailed by his increasingly unco-operative body.
At the French Open he spoke of how his doctor had needed to ‘put his foot to sleep’ to get through the tournament and that he was not going to go through a course of injections again for the grass season.
Such has been his continuing success it is easy to forget that he is nearer 40 than 30, and he missed the second half of last season with the first outbreak of foot problems.
Nadal looked disconsolate when addressing the media with his news on Thursday evening
Only the nervousness of Taylor Fritz when faced with such a huge win stopped him from going out the previous evening, when even his father and sister were urging him to quit. There was also the prospect of a heavy defeat to Djokovic had he got through.
The news was a huge disappointment to fans who had been anticipating a mouthwatering Friday. Kyrgios versus Nadal always has a particular edge, as past meetings have shown.
This does not by any means make Djokovic a shoo-in for the title as he has a 0-2 record against the Australian.
Kyrgios now has a three day gap between matches to get his body absolutely right although there is also the dimension of him having too much time to think about the enormous opportunity coming.
At a press conference on Thursday evening at 7:20pm, Nadal confirmed: ‘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.
Nadal pulled out of a practice session and the pain was too much for him to continue
It is a sad end to the tournament for the Spaniard, who will play no further part
Kyrgios will either play Novak Djokovic or Cameron Norrie in the final on Sunday
‘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.’
‘I never thought about the calendar slam, I thought about my diary and my happiness,’ Nadal said.
‘I make the decision because I don’t believe I can win two matches under the circumstances. It is not only I can’t serve at the right speed, it is I can’t do the normal movement to serve.
Nadal took a medical timeout in the second set before roaring back to beat Fritz in five sets
‘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.’
Kyrgios, who has been centre of attention throughout the tournament, posted on social media on Thursday night: ‘Different players, different personalities. Rafael Nadal I hope your recovery goes well and we all hope to see you healthy soon. Till next time…’
But the Australian now has a golden opportunity in front of him. He will wait to find out whether it is Djokovic or Norrie facing him on Sunday and will relish the chance to silence his critics.
Nadal was on for the calendar Grand Slam but will no longer be able to achieve it
Earlier in the tournament he spat in the direction of an abusive fan and called a line judge a ‘snitch’.
And more recently, the Australian has been asked to attend court next month in his native Canberra, where information will be laid out relating to a charge of common assault.
He has been accused of domestic abuse by former girlfriend Chiara Passari and the incident is said to have taken place in December last year, according to the Canberra Times. If proven, it carries a maximum of two years’ imprisonment.