Rafael Nadal has expressed some doubts about his ability to recover from an injury sustained in his win over Taylor Fritz.
Rafael Nadal survived a stomach injury and great play from Taylor Fritz to advance to the Wimbledon semi-final against Nick Kyrgios.
Nadal looked down and out as he left the field mid-game for a medical timeout while battling an apparent abdominal injury.
But the Spanish legend showed his famous fighting spirit to come back from two sets to one deficit in a 3-6 7-5 3-6 7-5 7-6 classic.
“Many moments I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish the game, but the crowd, the energy, thank you for that,” the Spaniard said on the pitch.
“I really enjoy playing games like this for you guys. I can’t thank you enough for the support.”
Nadal is now scheduled to face Kyrgios on Friday night following the Australian’s three-set win against Cristian Garin.
But he seemed to express some doubt about his ability to recover in time.
“First of all, I hope to be ready to play,” said Nadal. “Nick is a great player on all surfaces, but especially here on grass. He is having a great lawn season. It will be a big challenge and I have to be 100 percent.”
Nadal later revealed that he would undergo “some more tests” for his injury and until then could not confirm that he would play.
“I had these feelings for a few days, but today was without a doubt the worst day, it was a significant increase in pain and disability. I managed to win that game, but we’ll see what happens tomorrow,” he said.
“I can’t give you a straight answer because if I give you a straight answer and something else happens tomorrow, then I’m a liar.”
Kyrgios described a potential match against Nadal as a “delightful encounter”.
“Obviously we’re two very different personalities, but we respect each other a lot,” Kyrgios said. “That would probably be the most watched game of all time. I would contradict that.”
A pumped-up Nadal raced out of the blocks to take a 3-1 lead, but then lost five consecutive games of the 11th series to lose the first set.
The players switched breaks in the second set, but Nadal didn’t move freely and with a 4-3 lead, he sat down in his seat and shook his head at his team.
The trainer jumped into action before Nadal left the field for a medical time-out to treat his injury.
When he returned, Fritz served to love, while Nadal’s movement still looked impeded.
But the Spaniard kept his serve comfortably twice and led 6-5 and a backhand volley in the open field sealed the second set, to roars from the crowd.
Nadal, 36, now moved more freely, but the pendulum swung again early in the third set when the two-time Wimbledon winner committed a double foul to give his American opponent a break.
The trainer returned, this time to tie up Fritz’s left thigh and the American resumed play and broke again to take the third set.
There were five breaks in a tumultuous fourth set, with both players struggling for consistency in their serve, but Nadal came out on top to equalize.
The first six games of the deciding set were served before Nadal produced a backhand dropshot winner to break after a hard-fought seventh game.
Fritz immediately broke back when Nadal scored with a backhand. The set went to a tie-break and Nadal seized control, racing to a 9-3 lead and completing the win on his second match point.
Nadal, who has already won the Australian Open and French Open this year, is halfway through a man’s first Grand Slam calendar since Rod Laver in 1969.
He also offers to win his 23rd Grand Slam title, matching Serena Williams in second place on the all-time list for most Grand Slam titles. Margaret Court is the leader on 24 titles.
– with AFP