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Rafael Nadal withdraws from Wimbledon due to injury, sending Nick Kyrgios straight to the final

By David Close and Alaa Elassar, CNN

Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from Wimbledon due to an abdominal injury.

The 22-time grand slam champion was scheduled to face Nick Kyrgios in their semifinal match on Friday. Kyrgios will now head straight to the final to face the winner of the match between Novak Djokovic and Cameron Norrie.

“I have to pull out from the tournament,” Nadal said during a Thursday news conference. “I have a tear in the (abdominal) muscle.”

Nadal said he spent the whole day thinking about what he should do, but decided it wouldn’t “make sense” to keep going.

“If I keep going, the injury is going to be worse and worse,” he said, adding how “sad” he felt about it.

Nadal hinted that part of his decision was based on the fact he would have to win two matches, the semifinal and the final, to win the championship.

“I believe that I can’t win two matches,” he said. “I don’t want to go out there and not be competitive enough to play at the level that I need to achieve my goal with a big chance to make the things much worse.”

Nadal said he anticipated a three-to-four week recovery and looked to return to compete in upcoming tournaments as expected.

The Spaniard said the injury had been bothering him for about a week but worsened during his grueling quarterfinal match against Taylor Fritz on Wednesday. Although he came through, winning 3-6, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6, he looked to be struggling with an injury to his abdomen at times.

On more than one occasion, Nadal remained hunched over after a shot and was holding his midriff. The two-time Wimbledon champion called the trainer out for an assessment in the second set, before eventually using a medical timeout and leaving the court for treatment.

“We’re sad to see it end this way,” Wimbledon tweeted, tagging Nadal. “Thank you for another year of unforgettable moments at The Championships.”

Earlier this year, Nadal played through the pain barrier to win his 14th French Open title, receiving injections in his foot before each match. In a post-match news conference at Roland Garros, Nadal said his 21-year career had left him enduring pain “every single day.”

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CNN’s Matias Grez contributed to this report.

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