Rafael Nadal’s career cursed by injury; out from Wimbledon Tennis tournament


Rafael Nadal, who has won a record 22 Grand Slam titles, has withdrawn from the Wimbledon Tennis tournament because of a torn abdominal muscle. It is the first time since 1931 that a man pulled out of the oldest Grand Slam tournament before a semifinal or final.

“I made my decision because I believe that I can’t win two matches under these circumstances,” Nadal said at a news conference at the All England Club. “I can’t serve. It’s not only that I can’t serve at the right speed, it’s that I can’t do the normal movement to serve.”

His physical frailties returned to haunt him just a day before he was to face Nick Kyrgios in the semi-finals.

Prior to this setback, the ace tennis player had already missed 11 Grand Slam events stretching back to his debut in 2003. He has also now pulled out during a Slam five times.

Nadal’s first injury-enforced absence came as a 16-year-old in 2003 when he hurt his elbow in a fall during training and had to miss the French Open.

The 36-year-old has been forced to sit out at least one tournament in every year of his career since.

Nadal has suffered a series of knee and foot injuries, as well as hamstring, pulls, a wrist tendon tear, and an abdominal muscle strain, among other issues.

He even played briefly with bandaged fingers after burning himself accidentally at a restaurant in 2011.

Despite missing so many events, Nadal’s incredible will to win has taken him to 92 titles and 1,063 victories on tour.

When he failed to reach a Grand Slam semi-final in 2015 and 2016, many wondered if his career was winding down, but he has since won another eight Slam titles.

Nadal has gotten used to more adversity over the past year.

A left foot problem forced him to miss last year’s Wimbledon, US Open, and Olympics in Tokyo.

A rib fracture at the Indian Wells final this year ended a 20-match winning run, which had included the Australian Open title.

His 14th French Open triumph in June was possible only by having his left foot anaesthetised to ease chronic pain.

He said in the immediate aftermath of his Paris victory that he would undergo pain-numbing radio-frequency on his foot.

Nadal admitted then that his career was in the balance.

Meanwhile, legendary cricketer Sachi Tendulkar also heaped praises on Nadal’s performance at Wimbledon 2022. Tendulkar lauded Nadal’s never-give-up mindset and described him as a ‘super competitor. “A super competitor who never ever gives up despite all adversities. Amazing game of tennis last evening @RafaelNadal. The way you compete each time you’re on the court is just brilliant to watch,” he wrote on Twitter.

Tendulkar had also praised Nadal for his gesture towards Alexander Zverev during the semi-final of the recent French Open. “The humility and concern shown by Nadal is what makes him so special,” wrote Tendulkar along with a picture of Nadal comforting an injured Zverev.

Nadal was bidding to win his 23rd Grand Slam title and equal Serena Williams in second place on the all-time list for most Grand Slam singles titles. Margaret Court is the leader of 24 titles.

(With AFP inputs)

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