Rafael Nadal Overcomes Abdominal Injury to Reach Wimbledon Semifinals, Maintain Grand Slam Hopes

Rafael Nadal appeared to be contemplating retirement during the early stages of his Wimbledon quarterfinal against American Taylor Fritz.

He sat in his chair with his head in his hands, bothered by an abdominal ailment. He summoned the trainer. In his player box, his family and friends were apprehensive. Nadal did not appear to be in the correct frame of mind.

But if tennis fans have learnt anything over the last two decades, it is that Rafael Nadal should never be underestimated. Never write him off.

The 36-year-old Spaniard recovered and eventually defeated Fritz in five sets, 3-6, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(4) over four hours and twenty minutes to reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals. After winning the Australian and French Opens in the same calendar year for the first time in his career, Nadal has won 19 straight major matches this year. In 2022, Nadal improved to 4-0 in five-setters.

“It’s apparent that it’s been a challenging afternoon against a fantastic player, so all credit to Taylor for playing terrific all season,” Nadal said.

“From my perspective, it was not an easy match at all, so I’m just glad to be in the semifinals, no?” That’s it.”

Nadal is just two match victories away from winning his third Wimbledon crown and 23rd major title. His main challengers, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, are both deadlocked on 20 points. However, he confronts a difficult road ahead of him.
“Well, the body is generally alright,” Nadal remarked when asked about his stomach ailment. Of certainly, something is wrong with the abdomen. Being truthful. Yes, I had to come up with a unique manner to serve. Yes, there were times when I thought I wouldn’t be able to finish the match, but the court, the excitement, is something else. So, thank you.”

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After defeating Cristian Garin of Chile in straight sets, Nadal will meet unpredictable Australian sensation Nick Kyrgios in the semis on Friday. Nadal leads Kyrgios 6-3 and has won three straight wins, but they split two matches at Wimbledon.

“First and foremost, I want to be ready to play it,” Nadal stated. “Nick is a fantastic player on all surfaces, but especially on grass.” He’s enjoying a fantastic grass court season. It’s going to be a tremendous challenge, and I need to be at my best to keep having opportunities, which is what I’m going to attempt to accomplish.”

Nadal took an early mini-break in the tiebreak with a powerful passing shot that Fritz attempted to grab before hitting far. He immediately had a 5-0 advantage.
At 9-3, he smashed a forehand winner up the line to secure a bevvy of match points. He finished his serve with a forehand winner before meeting Fritz at the net.
During his spectacular 2022 season, Nadal fought with several ailments, including a cracked rib that handicapped him when he lost to Fritz in the Indian Wells final in March. During the French Open, he had to obtain injections to numb his foot so he could play on it as he won his 14th Roland Garros championship and 22nd Grand Slam crown.

Nonetheless, he stated that he felt considerably better heading into Wimbledon and that he had looked as dominant as ever through the first four rounds.

Nadal raced out to a 3-1 lead early on, but he was plainly not himself soon after the match began. Fritz closed off the opening set by winning five straight games and 11 of the last 12 points.
Nadal appeared to be suffering with a lower abdomen injury in the second set. He sat in his chair, buried his face in his hands, and appeared disoriented.

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With a 4-3 advantage, he exited the court to see the trainer and, presumably, get some painkillers.
Fritz took a two-sets-to-one lead when Nadal blasted a forehand wide on double-set point in the third.

Nadal then summoned the trainer once again.

Nadal exited the court again after winning the fourth set to square the match at two sets each.
He regrouped, won the final set, and lives to tell the tale.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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