Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from Wimbledon due to an abdominal injury.
The 22-time Grand Slam champion was due to face Nick Kyrgios in their semi-final match on Friday. Kyrgios will now head straight to the final to face the winner of the match between Novak Djokovic and Cameron Norrie.
“I have to withdraw from the tournament,” Nadal said at a press conference on Thursday. “I have a tear in the (abdominal) muscle.”
Nadal said he spent the whole day thinking about what he should do but decided it “wouldn’t make sense” to continue.
“If I continue, the injury is going to get worse and worse,” he said, adding how “sad” he was about it.
Nadal hinted that part of his decision was based on the fact that he would have to win two games, the semi-final and the final, to win the championship.
“I don’t think I can win two matches,” he said. “I don’t want to go out there and not be competitive enough to play at the level I need to achieve my goal with a high chance of making things worse.”
Nadal said he expects a recovery of three to four weeks and plans to return to compete in upcoming tournaments as planned.
The Spaniard said the injury had been bothering him for around a week but had gotten worse over the course of his grueling quarterfinal match against Taylor Fritz on Wednesday. Although he won 3-6, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6, he seemed to struggle at times with an abdominal injury.
On more than one occasion, Nadal remained bent over after a shot and held his stomach. The two-time Wimbledon champion called the coach for an assessment in the second set, before eventually using a medical time-out and walking off the court for treatment.
“We are sad to see it end like this”, Wimbledon tweeted, tagging Nadal. “Thank you for another year of unforgettable moments at the Championships.”
Earlier this year, Nadal broke through the pain barrier to win his 14th French Open title, receiving foot injections before every game. In a post-match press conference at Roland Garros, Nadal said his 21-year career had made him endure pain “every day”.