Rafael Nadal showed on Wednesday why he’s at the forefront when the words “grit” and “warrior” are uttered on the tennis court. The Spaniard battled a severe injury to beat Taylor Fritz in the quarterfinals, but that could have cost him a chance to fight for a place in the final of the Wimbledon Championships.
The 36-year-old was unwilling to throw in the towel as he struggled with an abdominal injury during his quarterfinal battle against Fritz. Nadal took a medical time out midway through the second set, and even ignored calls from his bench to withdraw.
The 22-time men’s singles Grand Slam champion came back from two sets to one down to claim an epic 3-6, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6(10-4) win in four hours and 20 minutes. Nadal looked in visible pain after the game, and admitted that he was unsure about his condition going into the semifinals.
“I don’t know. I’m going to have some more tests,” Nadal said when asked about the possibility of missing the semifinals. “It is difficult to know. I am used to have things and I am used to having pain and playing with problems.”
Nadal admitted that he was unsure if he could finish the match, and even confirmed that his bench was urging him to throw in the towel and withdraw. The Spaniard, however, was determined to finish the match, and credited the energy of Centre Court for pulling him through.
“The body in general is fine. In the abdominal [area] it is not going well, being honest. I had to find a way to serve a little bit differently, for a lot of moments I was thinking maybe I would not be able to finish the match, but I don’t know. The court, the energy [helped me].”
Nadal faces perennial bad boy Nick Kygios in the last four at SW19, and the Spaniard is hoping he can be at 100% by the time the match gets underway on Friday. The Australian is in fine form, and is certain to utilise every advantage at his disposal to hand the world number four his first major defeat of the season.
“I hope to be ready to play,” he added. “Nick is a great player on all surfaces, but especially here on grass. He’s having a great grass-court season and it’s going to be a big challenge. I need to be at 100% to keep having chances and that’s what I am going to try to do.”