Rafael Nadal withdrew from his highly anticipated Wimbledon semi-final matchup against Australian Nick Kyrgios on Thursday due to an abdominal pain, ending his chances of completing a rare calendar year Grand Slam.
For the first time in his career, Nadal won back-to-back Grand Slam tournaments in the Australian and French Opens this year. He was attempting to become the first person since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four majors in the same calendar year.
Less than a day before his semi-final, the heartbroken Spaniard announced his withdrawal from the competition at a hurriedly scheduled press conference.
“As everyone could see yesterday (during the quarterfinal), I’ve been having stomach problems. I could sense that there was a problem. Yes, that has been verified. The abdominal muscle that I have a rip in.
“I was considering the choice I needed to make the entire day.”
Unseeded 27-year-old Kyrgios became the first Australian to make it to the men’s singles final at the All England Club since Mark Philippoussis in 2003 after the Spaniard withdrew.
The Australian has displayed his good, bad, and ugly sides throughout the tournament and has been fined a total of $14,000 for two offenses: spitting at a spectator after his first-round victory and swearing during a heated match against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round.
In the Sunday final, Kyrgios will face either top seed Novak Djokovic—who is vying for a fourth consecutive victory and his seventh overall crown on Wimbledon’s manicured grounds—or local favorite Cameron Norrie. They have a Friday semi-final scheduled.
While playing American Taylor Fritz on Centre Court on Wednesday, Nadal’s father and sister pleaded with him to give up the match midway, but Nadal disregarded their advice and pulled off an incredible victory in four hours and 20 minutes.
He was back at the All England Club on Thursday, practicing his backhands and forehands on the practice courts in Aorangi Park in the hopes of facing Kyrgios.