Rafael Nadal training, serving before Wimbledon semi-final Nick Kyrgios, 7mm abdominal tear, will he plan, retirement

Rafael Nadal is struggling with a horrendous injury and time ahead of his semi-final against Nick Kyrgios, but he has given the biggest hint of what he will be playing.

Rafael Nadal faces a time trial to be ready for Friday’s mouth-watering Wimbledon semi-final against Nick Kyrgios after it was revealed he had a 7mm gash in his stomach.

A meeting between 22-time Grand Slam champion Nadal and the mercurial Aussie has been scheduled ever since. Kyrgios defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas in an angry meeting of the third round.

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Kyrgios went through his last eight match against unseeded Chilean Christian Garin on Wednesday in straight sets to reach their first Grand Slam semi-final.

But it was a different story for Nadal, who had to fight a stomach injury in a grueling five-set victory against American Taylor Fritz with 11th number.

The second seed, clearly in pain, looked unlikely to finish the match when he was forced to take a medical timeout in the second set.

But he returned to the court and went from set to win twice in four hours and 21 minutes.

Nadal’s extra time on court – two hours ahead of Kyrgios – is a factor in itself, but the Spaniard’s injury raises the possibility that he may not be fit even to play in the semi-finals.

Nadal, the 2008 and 2010 champion, said he was unsure about his continued presence in the tournament as he aims for the third leg of a rare Grand Slam calendar.

“I can’t give you a clear answer because if I give you a clear answer and something else happens tomorrow, I’ll be a liar,” the 36-year-old said after winning the quarter-finals.

Spanish sports newspaper Marca reported on Thursday that Nadal has a 7mm gash in his stomach but is still determined to play.

He played with a similar injury at the 2009 US Open where he reached the semi-finals before losing to eventual champion Juan Martín del Potro.

An indication that Nadal will play is that the order of play has been announced, with the Djokovic-Norri semi-final to be played first, followed by Nadal-Kyrgios.

The fact that it was announced, Stuart Frazier tweeted from The Times, “This shows that he told the tournament organizers this afternoon that he would be playing tomorrow.”

And Nadal did show up for training after undergoing a medical in London, though he adjusted his schedule to be on the outside, away from the cameras, after showing up 45 minutes late than expected.

Frazier reported that Nadal only landed right and left shots early on.

When he tried to serve, he was “far from full capacity”.

“Never hit the pitch at full power and never sat down at the end for a long discussion with my team. It will be hard for him if he plays tomorrow, but he cannot be discounted, ”concluded Frazier.

John Wertheim of Sports Illustrated reported that Nadal’s 44-minute workout included 33 minutes of punches and an 11-minute break.

“Live feed of Nadal training… leaves court five, now posing for photos. good news for tomorrow he is hitting pitches…even more bad news this has been cut so much…can’t imagine winning the last two sets and last 19 majors he won’t give a chance tomorrow,” wrote Wertheim.

However, others were stunned that Nadal was still going.

After rib stress fracture in March and finishing the French Open on the left foot injury that required needles all overNadal has struggled this season but has won both Grand Slams this season and is on his way to a rare Grand Slam by winning all four majors.

This is despite the fact that his team and family are apparently urging Nadal to retire from the game against Fritz.

Former world number 1 and US Open champion Tracey Austin has theorized why Nadal continues to struggle with injuries – that he is going to announce his retirement in the near future.

“I didn’t think he was going to finish[against Fritz],” Austin told the BBC.

“I really thought he was going to retire. You have to remember that Rafael Nadal won the Australian Open and the French Open, so he is halfway to the Calendar Grand Slam.

“He is also 36 years old. So, at 36, Rafa had so many problems with his leg. Prior to Wimbledon, he had undergone nerve pain surgery and did not know if he could play at Wimbledon.

“At this point, he might be thinking, ‘A year from now, I don’t know if I’m going to play. I don’t want to end Wimbledon and cancel my last match.” So he got stuck there. The pitching rate dropped a lot, to the 90s, and he just pitched.

“Then he had to rely on a huge forehand and just stealth, coming up to the net, slicing and basically fighting, being the warrior that he is.”

If the Spaniard can take on Kyrgios, it will be the tournament’s standout match of the year, with many of the best players being eliminated early.

Kyrgios’ tournament was marked by spectacular strikes as well as his familiar on-court tirades including demand that Tsitsipas be kicked out of the championship for hitting the ball into the crowd.

The 40th player was fined a total of $14,000 and now has an additional distraction of Judgment coming in Australiain connection with the alleged assault.

Nadal has six wins over Kyrgios in nine meetings between the pair. The Australian famously beat Nadal – then world No. 1 – en route to the Wimbledon quarter-finals on his debut in 2014, but the Spaniard took revenge in 2019.

Kyrgios, 27, said he thought the match against Nadal would be “the most watched of all time”.

“We had some big fights on Center Court,” he said. “He won one from me and I won one from him.

“Obviously we know two completely different personalities. Although I feel like we fucking respect each other. I feel like it would be a mouth-watering meeting for everyone around the world.”

Originally published as ‘Far from full power’: Rafael Nadal desperate to fight Nick Kyrgios