French Open: Leading men on collision course, Jabeur bids to stop Swiatek

By Sports Desk May 22, 2022

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  • Wimbledon: 'I am worried' – Nadal admits he is no sure thing to play in the semi-final Wimbledon: 'I am worried' – Nadal admits he is no sure thing to play in the semi-final

    Rafael Nadal says he does not know if he will be able to play in his semi-final against Nick Kyrgios after aggravating an abdominal injury during his five-set victory over Taylor Fritz.

    Nadal, 36, has been vocal about his struggles physically during the tournament, but had been determined to push through the pain in an effort to keep his chances at the calendar slam alive, having already won this year's Australian Open and French Open.

    During his quarter-final win against Fritz, family members were imploring Nadal to retire from the match as his clear discomfort appeared to be getting the better of him at times.

    He admitted in his post-match media appearance that his condition worsened during the match, saying he will prioritise his health if he has to make a tough decision.

    "I don't know [if I will be able to play] – I am going to have some more tests, but it is difficult to know," he said.

    "I had these feelings for a couple of days, but without a doubt, today was the worst day. There has been an important increase of pain and limitation.

    "I am worried. I don't have a decision. I need to know different opinions and I need to check everything the proper way.

    "There is something more important than winning Wimbledon, and that is health."

    The winner between Nadal and Kyrgios will face the winner of Novak Djokovic's semi-final against Cameron Norrie in the decider.

  • Wimbledon: Nadal hopeful of recovering from injury in time for Kyrgios semi-final Wimbledon: Nadal hopeful of recovering from injury in time for Kyrgios semi-final

    Rafael Nadal is hopeful he will overcome an abdominal injury that plagued him during his victory over Taylor Fritz in time for Friday's Wimbledon semi-final against Nick Kyrgios.

    The 22-time grand slam winner recovered from behind to edge Fritz 3-6 7-5 3-6 7-5 7-6 (10-4) in a thrilling contest on Centre Court on Wednesday.

    Nadal called for a medical time-out in the second set and never fully recovered from the issue, with his movement restricted throughout the four-hour-and-20-minute battle.

    However, Nadal showed incredible mental and physical resilience to dig deep and see off first-time grand slam quarter-finalist Fritz and set up a showdown with Kyrgios.

    Speaking in his on-court interview, the Spaniard admitted he was not entirely sure he would be able to see out his quarter-final tie after playing through the pain barrier.

    "The body in general is fine," he said. "The abdominal [area] is not going well. I had to find a way to serve a little bit different.

    "For a lot of moments I was thinking I will not be able to finish the match, but the court energy was something else.

    "I honestly enjoy a lot playing these kind of matches, in front of you guys, I can’t thank you enough. It has been a tough afternoon. [Fritz] is a great player, all the credit to him.

    "He's been great the whole season. But from my personal side it was not an easy match at all, so I'm just very happy to be in the semi-final.

    "I hope to be ready to play it. Nick is a great player on all surfaces but especially on grass, he is having a great grass-court season.

    "It's going to be a big challenge and I'm going to need to be at my 100 per cent to have a chance, and that is what I'm going to try to do."

     

    Nadal has now won all eight quarter-finals contested at Wimbledon and is on a 19-match winning run at grand slams – three short of his own record of 21, which he set in 2010.

    The victory over Fritz marked only the second time Nadal has won a fifth-set tie-break at a major, having previously prevailed against Dominic Thiem at the 2018 US Open.

    It was also the first time since the same stage four years ago, against Juan Martin Del Potro, that Nadal has come through a five-set match at Wimbledon.

    He has two days to recover ahead of facing Kyrgios, who had earlier defeated Cristian Garin in straight sets to reach a first grand slam semi-final.

    "Tomorrow I'm going to have some more tests. But it's difficult to know [how I'll feel]," Nadal said when providing a further update on his fitness.

    "It's obvious that I am not the kind of player that I didn't have a lot of things [injuries] in my tennis career, so I am used to have things and I am used to hold pain and to play with problems.

    "Knowing that, when I feel something like I felt, that is because something is not going the proper way. But let's see. 

    "It's obvious that today is nothing new. I had these feelings for a couple of days. Without a doubt, today was the worst day.

    "There has been an important increase of pain and limitation. I managed to win that match. Let's see what's going on tomorrow."

    Nadal leads Kyrgios 6-3 in their previous nine career matches, including victories in two of their three meetings in majors.

  • Wimbledon: 'I thought my ship had sailed' – Kyrgios in disbelief after making first major semi-final Wimbledon: 'I thought my ship had sailed' – Kyrgios in disbelief after making first major semi-final

    Nick Kyrgios was in disbelief after reaching his first grand slam semi-final with a Wimbledon victory over Cristian Garin, suggesting his best chances of major success had been wasted.

    Kyrgios produced an impressive display on No. 1 Court to down his Chilean opponent 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-5), becoming the first unseeded Wimbledon semi-finalist since Rainer Schuttler and Marat Safin in 2008.

    The Australian, who had lost two previous grand slam quarter-finals (at Wimbledon in 2014 and the Australian Open the following year) has courted controversy during a box-office run at SW19, spitting in the direction of a spectator during his opener last week before labelling Stefanos Tsitsipas "soft" after an ill-tempered third-round match.

    And the 27-year-old, who took a moment to sit and savour his win before conducting his court-side interview, thought he had squandered any chance of grand slam success earlier in his career.

    "Amazing atmosphere out here again, I just never thought I'd be at a semi-final of a grand slam, honestly, I thought my ship had sailed," he said.

    "You know, I didn't go about things great earlier in my career, and may have wasted that little window.

    "But I'm just really proud of the way I've come back out here, and of my team."

    Kyrgios put the rows and trick-shots to one side during a professional performance, serving 17 aces and saving eight of the nine break points conjured by Garin.

    Asked how he had found consistency without working with a full-time coach, Kyrgios said: "I don't have a coach, I would never put that burden on someone!

    "Each and every one of my team plays a very important role, [but] I feel like no-one knows my tennis like I do. 

    "I've been playing this sport since I was seven, and to reach a semi-final of a grand slam… I'm pretty happy."

    Kyrgios' clash with Garin represented Wimbledon's first quarter-final between two unseeded players since 2008 (Arnaud Clement v Schuttler), and the Australian said he never felt in control against a tough opponent despite posting a straight-sets win.

    "Honestly, I felt I was playing on the back foot a lot, he's a hell of a player, he's obviously feeling very confident, it's been a hell of a tournament from him to make the quarter-finals," he continued.

    "I felt I got a bit lucky on a couple of break points here and there, it could easily have been him standing here.

    "I'll just take that and prepare for my next match.

    "I don't want to think about the semi-final just yet, there's a lot to be done from now until then. We'll go back, my dad will cook dinner as always, we'll watch a movie and just chill out. That's it."

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