Rafael Nadal Pulls Out of Wimbledon in Major Bummer

The look says it all. Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal, perhaps the greatest men’s tennis champion ever, has withdrawn from Wimbledon after suffering an abdominal tear, which was a factor in his epic quarterfinal match against the American Taylor Fritz on Wednesday.

This is a huge letdown on multiple levels. It scotches the intriguing semifinal matchup between Nadal and the volatile Nick Kyrgios, which had been set for Friday. It nixes the potential for a Nadal showdown with Novak Djokovic in the final. And it prevents Nadal, who won 2022’s first two major tournaments, from achieving a Grand Slam — victories in all four majors in one calendar year — for the first time since Rod Laver did it in 1969.

His departure must be particularly frustrating for Fritz, who battled a visibly injured Nadal on Wednesday, losing in a fifth-set tiebreak only to see his seemingly indomitable opponent withdraw a day later.

Perhaps the only silver lining — and many would disagree that it counts as one — is that Kyrgios, who has all the talent in the world but often lets his temper and/or victim complex get in the way of his success, will be playing in a major final for the first time. (He hasn’t previously made it past the quarterfinals.) Kyrgios has had more success against the world’s best players than almost anyone else has, and if Djokovic gets past semifinalist Cameron Norrie on Friday — which he is very likely to do — the final would pit the two biggest heels in men’s tennis against each other. At the very least, it would be interesting.

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Rafael Nadal Pulls Out of Wimbledon in Major Bummer