Rafael Nadal was seemingly in great form and on course to reach the Wimbledon men’s singles final. But after coming through a tough test against American Taylor Fritz in the quarter-finals, where he had to receive treatment during the match, Nadal has now had to pull out of the tournament ahead of his semi-final clash with Nick Kyrgios.
Nadal, 36, who has fought through the pain barrier many times before across his stellar career in tennis, decided that carrying on at Wimbledon wasn’t the right thing to do, suggesting that if he did so, “it is obvious the injury will get worse.” It’s not a chance the two-time Wimbledon champion wanted to take at this stage in his career, which would have been a relief for both his father and sister, who called for him to quit during his medical timeout against Fritz.
The injury Nadal was suffering from was a tear to an abdominal muscle, which the Spaniard believes would prevent him from being competitive over the remaining fixtures he could be involved with at SW1. The tennis icon had strapping in place against Fritz as he fought through the pain barrier, but it was clearly becoming too much for Nadal, who has won both the Australian and French Opens so far this year.
Injuries are beginning to hamper Nadal, but somehow he continues to play and be successful at the highest level. There were doubts about him being involved at Wimbledon because of a chronic foot injury, but after managing it in the French Open, a tournament he went on to win for a record-extending fourteenth time, he made it to the All England Club and performed admirably. But, there were signs that all was not well, with Nadal’s serve being delivered with less speed and power.
Even though Nadal has a massive haul of titles and accolades to his name, he is now prioritising happiness. The Spaniard said, “the most important thing is happiness more than any titles. I can’t risk that match and stay two or three months out of the competition.” But at the same time, Nadal has no regrets about his Wimbledon exploits this year, and his attention will now turn to the US Open, which is the next Grand Slam, beginning on August 29.
It's testament to Nadal that he has enjoyed a stunning 2022 so far on the tennis circuit, even though he has been plagued by pain and hampered by injury issues. First, he had to come from a couple of sets down against Daniil Medvedev to win the Australian Open for the second time. He then went on to be victorious at Roland Garros in the French Open without any feeling in his left foot after receiving anaesthetic to fight off the chronic pain he was suffering. It remains to be seen whether he will be fully recovered and ready to compete in the US next month.