WIMBLEDON, England — Rafael Nadal withdrew from Wimbledon on Thursday due to a torn abdominal muscle and announced his decision a day before he was scheduled to play in the semi-finals.
“Unfortunately, as you can imagine, if I’m here it’s because I have to withdraw from the tournament,” Nadal said at a press conference at the All England Club.
The 22-time Grand Slam champion would face Nick Kyrgios in the final on Friday.
Kyrgios advanced to his first major tournament final. He will face Novak Djokovic or Cam Norrie on Sunday for the championship.
Second-seeded Nadal, a 36-year-old from Spain, is 19-0 in Grand Slam action in 2022, including trophies at the Australian Open in January and the French Open in June. That brought him to Grand Slam for the first time in his career halfway through a calendar year.
Nadal has been struggling with a stomach ache for about a week and the pain became almost unbearable in the first set of his 4hr 21min win over the fifth set tiebreaker against Taylor Fritz in Wednesday’s quarter-finals.
After that game, Nadal said he had considered quitting. He took a medical time out to take pain-relieving pills and his father and sister motioned from the stands for him to stop.
On Thursday’s day off, Nadal went to the All England Club for light practice. He was registered on the official schedule to train at one of the championship courts but did not show up there, opting instead for practice courts that fans cannot access.
Nadal was mostly satisfied hitting forehands and backhands, but tried to serve a few times — the part of his game that exposed the most obvious inability to play at full power and, he said, the most caused discomfort to Fritz. Those Thursday practice services were generally used, by Nadal’s standards, not with the force he usually uses.
It’s not far from what happened to Nadal at Roland Garros, where he received repeated injections to numb the chronic pain in his left foot and insisted he had no idea when he would reach the point where he wouldn’t be able to go to court. .