Injured Rafael Nadal withdraws from Wimbledon before semifinal

Rafael Nadal sits with head bowed during an injury break in his quarterfinal match.
Rafael Nadal sits with head bowed during a medical timeout in his quarterfinal match against Taylor Fritz on Wednesday. Nadal withdrew from the tournament on Thursday because of a torn abdominal muscle.
(Kirsty Wigglesworth / Associated Press)

Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from a Wimbledon men’s semifinal because of a torn abdominal muscle.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion was scheduled to play Australia’s Nick Kyrgios on Friday for a spot in the final but announced at a news conference Thursday afternoon that he was unable to keep playing.

Kyrgios advances to his first final at a major championship and will play the winner of Friday’s semifinal between Novak Djokovic and Cam Norrie.

“Unfortunately, as you can imagine, if I am here, it’s because I have to pull out from the tournament,” Nadal said.

He aggravated the nagging injury Wednesday in his five-set quarterfinal victory over Taylor Fritz. During the match, he had to take a timeout and get medical attention. At the time, both Nadal’s father and sister were urging him from the stands to withdraw.

The thousands of balls used every year at Wimbledon might look identical to most, but they can have big differences from a player’s perspective.


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

This ends his bid for a calendar Grand Slam — last achieved on the men’s side by Rod Laver in 1969 — as Nadal had won both the Australian Open and French Open.

“I never thought about the calendar Slam,” he said. “I thought about my daily happiness and my daily work.”