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Injury forces withdrawal from Wimbledon 2022 to hand Nick Kyrgios spot in final

WIMBLEDON — Rafael Nadal has pulled out of Wimbledon due to a torn abdominal muscle to give Nick Kyrgios a place in his first ever grand slam final.

Nadal suffered the injury before his quarter-final clash with Taylor Fritz but says he aggravated it during the match, receiving treatment from the physio and taking anti-inflammatories that allowed him to finish the match, knocking the American out of the tournament.

He underwent a scan on Thursday morning and after practicing at SW19 later in the day, decided he could not be competitive against Kyrgios, telling tournament officials he would have to withdraw.

“It doesn’t make sense to go [on],” Nadal said.

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“Even if I tried a lot of times during my career to keep going under very tough circumstances, in that one I think it’s obvious that if I keep going, the injury going to be worse and worse.

“That’s the thing that I can say now. Feel very sad to say that.”

Nadal showed the first signs of discomfort in the early stages of the Fritz match but admitted on Thursday that he had first suffered pain in his abdomen during the first week of the tournament.

By the end of the Fritz match though, his first-serve speed was down between 10 and 15 miles an hour and in practice he adapted his serving technique to try and get through the semi-final.

“I made my decision because I believe that I can’t win two matches under these circumstances. I can’t serve,” Nadal said.

“It’s not only that I can’t serve at the right speed, it’s that I can’t do the normal movement to serve.

“For respect to myself in some way, I don’t want to go out there and not be competitive enough to play at the level that I need to play to achieve my goal, and with a big chance to make things much worse.

“A couple of weeks ago I saw my career very difficult because of the foot injury. Now that the things are better in that case. That’s the most dangerous things that can today stop my tennis career: thinking that the things are going better in that way without a doubt.”

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He added: “As I always said, for me the most important thing is happiness more than any title, even if everybody knows how much effort I put to be here.

“But I can’t risk that match and stay two, three months outside of the competition because that’s going to be a tough thing for me.

“If that happens, it happens, but not because I was not doing the things the proper way.

“That’s my decision and I have to live with that. I can’t say another thing. I am very sad and have been a very tough one.”

Nadal had won 19 grand slam matches in a row and was on track for the calendar-year Grand Slam, something only two men in history have ever achieved, and which Novak Djokovic fell agonizingly short of when he was beaten by Daniil Medvedev in the US Open final last year.

Nadal still plans to play at Flushing Meadows in two months’ time, expecting he will be back on court – albeit not serving – within a week.

“It’s going to be around between three, four weeks, normal thing for these kind of injuries,” Nadal added.

“I hope these three, four weeks [of rest] will allow me to do my normal calendar. That’s the calendar that I have in mind.

“I can’t keep playing, not now, but in one week I’m going to be able to play from the baseline. Not serving for a while, of course. Playing from the baseline is not going to be a big deal.

“In some way that’s a positive thing, that I going to keep being able to practice from the baseline. That helps to try to make the calendar that I want to do.”

It is the first time in men’s singles that anyone has ever been handed a walkover into the final, although Kyrgios would no doubt have preferred to face Nadal and beat him to earn a place against either Djokovic or Cameron Norrie, who will open proceedings on Thursday on Center Court.

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