In an unexpected turn of events, world No. 4 tennis star Rafael Nadal has announced that he will be pulling out of Wimbledon 2022 due to the injury he suffered in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
“Unfortunately, as you can imagine, if I am here, it’s because I have to pull out from the tournament,” Nadal said during a news conference at the All England Club on Thursday.
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Nadal, 36, suffered a seven millimetre abdominal tear in the second set of the quarterfinal against American Taylor Fritz. The Spaniard called for a medical time-out during the game and was seen bending over in pain as he served. He had been given painkillers for the pain on the pitch.
However, despite suffering a tricky injury, news in Spain emerged that the tennis maverick ‘wants to’ to play in the semifinal against Nick Kyrgios on Friday. While he missed his initial training session at the All England Club on Thursday afternoon, he was later found practising with his coach Marc López.
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With Nadal out, Australia’s Nick Kyrgios advanced to his first final at a major tournament. He will meet either Novak Djokovic or Cam Norrie for the championship on Sunday.
Rafa was targetting a calendar slam this year. The 36-year-old, who has a 19-0 record in Grand Slam action in 2022, won the Australian Open in January and the French Open in June.
After the win against Fritz in the quarters, Nadal said he had considered stopping.
“For a lot of moments. I was thinking, ‘Maybe I will not be able to finish the match.’ I don’t know exactly what I have. It’s clear something’s not right. I’m obviously worried,” he said.
Practicing on Thursday, Rafa attempted a few serves — the part of his game that revealed the most obvious inability to play with full force and, he said, caused the most discomfort against Fritz. Those practice serves were generally tapped in, by Nadal’s standards, not with any of the body-torqueing effort he usually uses.