Rafa Nadal's hopes of completing a rare calendar year Grand Slam ended on Thursday when the Spaniard pulled out of his highly-anticipated Wimbledon semi-final showdown with Australian Nick Kyrgios with an abdominal strain.
"I have to pull out of the tournament as I have been suffering with pain in abdominal," said the 36-year-old, the holder of a men's record 22 Grand Slam titles.
The 22 times Grand Slam champion had struggled to compete against Taylor Frtiz in the quarter final as the injury became severe. He seemed right at the cusp of retiring from the match but managed to win in a 4 hour 20 mins long 5 setter. It was later revealed that Nadal had endured through a 7 mm tear in the abdominal muscle.
The Spaniard had been struggling through a chronic foot injury already from the start of this year. He braved through the French Open with painkillers injected on the nerves of his foot. To participate in the Wimbledon 2022 Championships after his long feat in Paris, Nadal underwent a nerve numbing radio frequency treatment that could partially relieve the foot pain. While the success of the treatment allowed Nadal to pursue the title in London, the abdominal tear has forced him to retire from the tournament.
"I can't imagine winning two matches with this (pain). For me the most important thing is happiness rather than the title even though everyone knows how much effort I put into this as I can't risk being out of the sport for two to three months.
"I am very sad."
With this Nadal has now missed a dozen Grand Slam events due to a plaguing injury.
Nadal had triumphed at the Australian and French Opens this year and had been hoping to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to complete the calendar-year slam--a feat rival Djokovic came very close to achieving last year.
Nadal's withdrawal means Kyrgios becomes the first Australian to reach the men's final at the All England Club since Mark Philippoussis In 2003. Kyrgios will be facing Novak Djokovic or Cameron Norrie in the finals.