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Rafael Nadal Out of Wimbledon with Injury; Nick Kyrgios Advances to Final

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJuly 7, 2022

AELTC/Joe Toth - Pool/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from Wimbledon because of an abdominal injury.

He addressed his decision during an impromptu press conference Thursday:

Sean Ingle @seaningle

Rafael Nadal confirms he is pulling out of Wimbledon. <br><br>"I have a tear in the abdominal, the muscle. I was thinking about the whole day about the decision. But it doesn't make sense to keep going. If I keep going the injury will get worse and worse. I feel very sad to say that"

Adam Zagoria @AdamZagoria

Rafa: “I made my decision because I believe that I can’t win two matches under these circumstances. 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."

Ben Rothenberg @BenRothenberg

Nadal says he thinks this won’t be a long-term injury, expects to be able to resume hitting groundstrokes in a week or so. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Wimbledon?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Wimbledon</a>

Nadal qualified for Friday's semifinals after beating Taylor Fritz in a five-setter Wednesday. His exit will allow Nick Kyrgios to have a walkover into the men's singles final.

The news isn't a complete surprise considering the 36-year-old was visibly laboring against Fritz. He told reporters that Wednesday was "his worst day" and "an important increase of pain and limitation."

The Spanish star acknowledged he couldn't commit 100 percent to competing in Friday's semifinal.

"Honestly, I can't give you a clear answer because if I gave you a clear answer and tomorrow another thing happens, I will be a liar," he said.

Nadal's decision has implications beyond the tournament. His quest for the calendar Grand Slam is now over after winning the Australian and French Opens. Given his age, it's difficult to see any other active player achieving that feat.

Christopher Clarey 🇺🇸 🇫🇷 🇪🇸 @christophclarey

With <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Nadal?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Nadal</a> surely out of <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Wimbledon?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Wimbledon</a>, the Big Three era has had everything but a Grand Slam, and Rod Laver's double in 1962 and 1969 looks ever more otherworldly

While understandable, Nadal's withdrawal is leaving some to wonder whether major tournaments should tweak the rules to ensure a player doesn't have a smooth passage to the final.

A "lucky loser" can be added to the main draw despite failing to properly qualify if another player is unable to compete. Perhaps the concept can have utility deeper into a tournament.

Pam Shriver @PHShriver

I feel for Taylor Fritz. Should tennis re-examine the lucky loser rule’s scope?

Lee Abbamonte @LeeAbbamonte

The <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Nadal?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Nadal</a> withdrawal at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Wimbledon?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Wimbledon</a> is unfortunate but also annoying. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Tennis?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Tennis</a> needs a lucky loser scenario for things like this. Fans, networks, advertisers all out money + a match. Plus one guy now has 3 days rest before the final. It’s a tough situation and not fair to anyone.

Christopher Clarey 🇺🇸 🇫🇷 🇪🇸 @christophclarey

It happens so rarely, but I still think it's worth exploring. When a player withdraws this late in a Grand Slam or before a major tour final, the beaten player should be able to take the slot. In this case Fritz would play Kyrgios as a "lucky loser".<br><br>The show must go on

The counter is that Fritz had his opportunity to advance out of his semifinal, and he was unable to put away a clearly weakened Nadal.

Allowing Fritz to move on would have also been unfair to Cristian Garin, Kyrgios' quarterfinal opponent, since Fritz would benefit from circumstances beyond his control.

As things stand, Kyrgios will have more time to rest and prepare for Sunday's final, which will pit him against Novak Djokovic or Cameron Norrie.

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