Rafael Nadal has expressed some doubt in his ability to recover from an injury suffered in his win against Taylor Fritz.
Rafael Nadal survived an abdominal injury and stellar play from Taylor Fritz to progress to a Wimbledon semi-final against Nick Kyrgios.
Nadal looked down and out when he left the court for a medical time out midway through the match as he battled an apparent abdominal injury.
But the Spanish legend showed his renowned fighting spirit to comeback from two sets to one down in a 3-6 7-5 3-6 7-5 7-6 classic.
“For a lot of moments I was thinking I would not be able to finish the match but the crowd, the energy, thanks for that,” the Spaniard said on-court.
“I honestly enjoy a lot playing these kind of matches in front of you guys. I can’t thank you enough for the support.”
Nadal is now scheduled to play Kyrgios on Friday night after the Australian’s three-set win against Cristian Garin.
But he appeared to express some doubt about his ability to recover in time.
“First thing I hope to be ready to play,” Nadal said. “Nick is a great player on all surfaces but especially here on grass. He is having a great grass court season. It’s going to be a big challenge and I need to be at 100 per cent.”
Nadal later revealed he would have “some more tests” on his injury and until then could not confirm he would play.
“I had these feelings for a couple of days but without a doubt today was the worst day, have been an important increase of pain and limitation. I managed to win that match but we’ll see what’s going on tomorrow,” he said.
“I can’t give you a clear answer because if I give you a clear answer and another thing tomorrow happens, I will be a liar.”
Kyrgios described a potential match against Nadal as a “mouth-watering encounter”.
“Obviously we’re two very different personalities, we respect the hell out of each other though,” Kyrgios said. “That would probably be the most watched match of all-time. I would argue that.”
A pumped-up Nadal raced out of the blocks to take a 3-1 lead but then lost five straight games to the 11th seed to lose the first set.
The players swapped breaks in the second set but Nadal was not moving freely and when leading 4-3 he sat down on his chair, shaking his head at his team.
The trainer came on before Nadal left the court for a medical time-out to treat what appeared his injury.
When he returned, Fritz served out to love, with Nadal’s movement still looking hampered.
But the Spaniard twice held serve comfortably to lead 6-5 and a backhand volley into the open court sealed the second set, to roars from the crowd.
Nadal, 36, was now moving more freely but the pendulum swung again early in the third set when the two-time Wimbledon winner double-faulted to hand his American opponent a break.
The trainer returned, this time to attend to strapping on his Fritz’s left thigh and the American resumed playing, breaking again to take the third set.
There were five breaks in a topsy-turvy fourth set as both players struggled for consistency on their serve but Nadal came out on top to level the match.
The first six games of the deciding set went with serve before Nadal produced a backhand dropshot winner to break after a hard-fought seventh game.
Fritz broke back straight away when Nadal netted with a backhand. The set went to a tie-break and Nadal seized control, racing into a 9-3 lead and completing the win on his second match point.
Nadal, who has already won the Australian Open and the French Open this year, is halfway to the first calendar Grand Slam by a man since Rod Laver in 1969.
He is also bidding to win his 23rd Grand Slam title and equal Serena Williams in second place on the all-time list for most Grand Slam singles titles. Margaret Court is the leader on 24 titles.
– with AFP
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