By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Wednesday, July 6, 2022
Things took a turn for the worse for Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon when his abdominal injury was elevated to a much more painful lefel on Wednesday, but the 22-time Grand Slam champion refused to lay down his racquet and quit the match, despite the urging of his father and sister, who gestured to him in his coaching box during the second set.
“They told me I need to retire the match, yeah,” Nadal told reporters on Wednesday evening in Wimbledon’s main interview room.
“Well, I tried. For me was tough to retire in the middle of the match. Not easy even if I had that idea for such a long time. But in the other hand, I did it a couple of times in my tennis career. Is something that I hate to do it. So I just keep trying, and that’s it.”
Now that he has produced a gritty five-set victory over Taylor Fritz to improve to 19-0 at the Grand Slams in 2022, Nadal is forced to contemplate the severity of the abdominal injury that has reared its ugly head during the Wimbledon fortnight.
“Tomorrow I am going to have some more tests. But it is difficult to know,” he said. “It’s obvious that I am not the kind of player that I didn’t have a lot of things 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 in abdominal, no?”
“For a lot of moments I was thinking maybe I will not be able to finish the match”
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 6, 2022
Nadal has been dealing with the issue, and wearing kinesio tape to protect himself throughout the tournament, but on Wednesday against the hard-hitting American, the pain escalated. Here’s how he described it:
“It’s obvious that today is nothing new,” he said. “I had these feelings for a couple of days. Without a doubt, today was the worst day. Have been an important increase of pain and limitation. And that’s it… I managed to win that match. Let’s see what’s going on tomorrow.”
By the Way, I’m Playing Great
The injury is a concern, but Nadal can at least be happy with the way he is striking the ball when he isn’t hindered. He alluded to his form during his press conference.
“By the way, I’m playing great,” he said. “I am enjoying a lot. The level of tennis, if we put away the problems, something that’s difficult, the level of tennis, the feeling that I am having with the ball on my hand is honestly great. I am feeling myself playing very well.
But on a day that should have been a celebration of yet another heart-stopping victory there was the injury cloud, front and center.
“Yeah, worried now honestly, no? That’s part of the business, too, no?” Nadal said. “It’s difficult. Nothing can be fixed when you have a thing like this. That’s it.” No, I don’t know. As I said before, I just wanted to give myself a chance. Not easy to leave the tournament. Not easy to leave Wimbledon, even if the pain was hard. I don’t know. I wanted to finish. Doesn’t matter. Well, I prefer to win, with victory or defeat. That’s what I did. I fighted. Proud about the fighting spirit and the way that I managed to be competitive under that conditions.