Rafael Nadal has been forced to withdraw from his upcoming Wimbledon semi-final with Nick Kyrgios due to an abdominal injury.
The 22-time Grand Slam champion was in visible discomfort during his five-set quarter-final win over Taylor Fritz of the USA and had to leave the court for a medical timeout.
Scans subsequently revealed a 7 mm abdominal tear, although he nevertheless arrived at Aorangi Park to practice for his semi-final with Kyrgios on Thursday, albeit later than expected.
Spanish outlet Marca reported that the 36-year-old was still intending to compete for a place in the Wimbledon final on Friday, but he admitted that he may not have been able to play during his on-court interview after beating Fritz.
Nadal addressed the media on Thursday evening, during which he confirmed his withdrawal from SW19, ending his hopes of a 23rd major title and third Wimbledon crown following wins in 2008 and 2010.
"Unfortunately I am here because I have to pull out from the tournament, no?" The Express quotes Nadal as saying during his press conference. "I was thinking the whole day about the decision to make but I think it doesn't make sense to go [on court].
"Even if I tried a lot in my career to keep going in very tough circumstances. I think it's obvious if I keep going the injury is gonna get worse and worse and that's the thing that I can say now.
"It's not only that I can't serve at the right speed it's that I can't do the normal moment to serve. To imagine myself winning two matches... and for respect to myself in some way, I don't want to go out there and not be competitive enough."
Nadal's participation at the 2022 Wimbledon Championships was originally in doubt due to a long-standing foot injury, and the Spaniard has conceded that his pursuit of a Grand Slam is not worth the risk of exacerbating his abdominal issue.
"I can't risk that much and stay two, three months outside of the competition because that's going to be a tough thing for me. If that happens, it happens, but not because I was not doing things the proper way.
"In this particular case, it's not like the foot... In this particular case it's that if I keep going the injury is going to be increasing."
Nadal's withdrawal from Wimbledon ends his hopes of becoming just the third male singles player in history to win all four majors in a calendar year after he clinched the 2022 Australian Open and French Open titles.