Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from Wimbledon with an injury, giving Nick Kyrgios a clear path to his first grand slam final.
Most important points:
- Nick Kyrgios appears to be the first Australian man to win men’s singles since Lleyton Hewitt in 2002
- Nadal suffered his abdominal injury in his quarterfinal win over Taylor Fritz
- Kyrgios plays Novak Djokovic or Cameron Norrie in the men’s singles final
Nadal, who won the Australian Open and the French Open, suffered an abdominal injury in his semifinal victory over American Taylor Fritz.
“I have to withdraw from the tournament because I have a stomachache,” said the 36-year-old, the holder of a men’s record of 22 grand slam singles titles.
“I can’t imagine winning two games with this [pain]† For me, luck is more important than the title, even if everyone knows how much effort I put into this, because I can’t risk being out of the sport for two to three months.
“I’m very sad.”
Nadal had made the news after his four-hour marathon with Fritz when he said the injury had impacted his serve and he hoped to be “ready to play” Kyrgios.
A practice session at SW19 did not yield the results Nadal wanted as he struggled with his serve on Thursday.
Nadal’s departure also ends his chances of becoming the first men’s player to win all four Grand Slams in a calendar year since Rod Laver in 1969.
But it presents opportunities for both Kyrgios and Nadal’s longtime rival Novak Djokovic.
Kyrgios aims to become the first Australian singles champion at Wimbledon since Lleyton Hewitt lifted the trophy twenty years ago in 2002.
For Kyrgios, who himself struggled with shoulder complaints in his fourth round win over American Brandon Nakashima, it offers an extra day of rest ahead of a Sunday night final against Djokovic or ninth-seeded Briton Cameron Norrie.
It also presents Kyrgios with an opportunity he conceded after his quarter-final victory over Cristian Garin, who he thought may have passed him by.
Speaking about making it to the semi-finals, Kyrgios said: “I just never thought I’d be in the semi-final of a grand slam, I thought my ship had sailed.”
“Honestly, I haven’t done a great job earlier in my career and I may have wasted that little window.”
Now he has the chance of a lifetime, at the age of 27, to go fresh into the Wimbledon final, rather than endure a likely punishing fight with the Spanish superpower.
Even better for Kyrgios, he has a 2-0 career record against Djokovic and has never even dropped a set for him, although the pair haven’t played since 2017.
If his opponent is Norrie, Kyrgios will have to overcome a 1-2 career record against the Briton.
More to come.
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