LONDON — Rafael Nadal withdrew from Wimbledon because of a torn abdominal muscle on Thursday, a day before he was supposed to play Nick Kyrgios in the semifinals.
It is the first time since 1931 that a man pulled out of the oldest Grand Slam tournament before a semifinal or final, reports AP.
“I made my decision because I believe that I can’t win two matches under these circumstances,” Nadal said at a news conference at the All England Club.. “I can’t serve. 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.”
The 22-time major champion sighed occasionally while answering questions in English, then Spanish, for more than 20 minutes total. — Agencies
He twice described himself as “very sad.” Nadal said trying to continue to compete could make the injury worse.
The only other time in his career that Nadal gave a walkover to an opponent by pulling out of a Grand Slam tournament prior to a match came at the 2016 French Open, when he withdrew before the third round because of an injured left wrist.
The 40th-ranked Kyrgios, a 27-year-old from Australia, advanced to his first title match at a major tournament and became the first unseeded men’s finalist at Wimbledon since Mark Philippoussis, who lost to Roger Federer in 2003.
Kyrgios will meet either three-time defending champion and No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic or No. 9 Cam Norrie of Britain for the championship on Sunday; their semifinal will be played Friday.