Rafa Nadal's bombshell confession ahead of Nick Kyrgios showdown

·Sports Editor
·5-min read
Rafa Nadal, pictured here admitting he might not be fit to play Nick Kyrgios in the Wimbledon semi-final.
Rafa Nadal has admitted he might not be fit to play Nick Kyrgios in the Wimbledon semi-final. Image: Getty/Wimbledon

Rafa Nadal has made the staggering confession that he doesn't know if he will be fit to take on Nick Kyrgios in their blockbuster semi-final clash at Wimbledon.

The Spanish champion pulled off an astonishing 3-6 7-5 3-6 7-5 7-6 (10-4) win over Taylor Fritz on Wednesday to seal his spot in the last four at the All England Club.

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He will take on Kyrgios for a spot in Sunday's final, but the 22-time grand slam champion cast doubt over his ability to back up and play Friday's semi-final.

Nadal overcame a painful abdominal injury to beat Fritz, and even admitted he defied his family watching from the stands - who wanted him to retire hurt.

When asked if he'd be fit to play against Kyrgios, the Australian and French Open champion shrugged: "I don't know.

"Honestly, I can't give you a clear answer because if, tomorrow, another thing happens, I will be a liar.

"It's the player decision, but at the same time I need to know different opinions and need to check everything the proper way, no?

"Something more important than winning Wimbledon, that is the health. Let's see how this is going."

Nadal admitted after the match that his father and sister were imploring him to retire hurt during the second set.

"They told me I need to retire the match," shrugged Nadal, dismissing the suggestion.

"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.

"I did it a couple of times in my tennis career. Is something that I hate to do. So I just keep trying - and that's it."

Rafa Nadal, pictured here speaking to the trainer during his win over Taylor Fritz at Wimbledon.
Rafa Nadal speaks to the trainer during his win over Taylor Fritz at Wimbledon. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Nadal added that the doctor: "Gave me some anti-inflammatories. Well, anti-inflammatories and analgesic, no? And that's it.

"The physio just tried to relax a little bit the muscle there. But it's difficult. Nothing can be fixed when you have a thing like this."

When asked in his on-court interview about facing Kyrgios, there was a chorus of pantomime boos when the Australian's name was mentioned.

An unsmiling Nadal said: "First thing, I hope to be ready to play ...

"Nick is a great player, but especially here on grass - it's going to be a big challenge. I'm going to have to be at 100 per cent."

Nick Kyrgios reaches first grand-slam semi-final

Kyrgios is tipping his blockbuster clash with Nadal to be "the most-watched match of all-time" after casting aside his domestic dramas to gatecrash the Wimbledon semi-finals for the first time.

Kyrgios had too much firepower for Cristian Garin, eliminating the unseeded Chilean 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-5) in two hours and 13 minutes on Wednesday to advance to the final four.

It will be the 27-year-old's long-awaited maiden grand slam semi-final berth after losing quarter-finals to Milos Raonic at Wimbledon in 2014 and to Andy Murray at the 2015 Australian Open.

"I just never thought I'd be at a semi-finals of a grand slam. I thought my ship had sailed," an emotional Kyrgios said.

"Honestly, I didn't go about things great earlier in my career and I thought I may have wasted that little window."

Nick Kyrgios and Cristian Garin, pictured here at the net after their match at Wimbledon.
Nick Kyrgios and Cristian Garin meet at the net after their match at Wimbledon. (Photo by Frey/TPN/Getty Images)

The most gifted yet volatile talent in tennis described his journey to his first grand slam semi as "rocky".

"Honestly, at the start of the year, I didn't even know if I wanted to really play like a proper schedule at all. I don't really play a proper schedule now," he added.

"I obviously had thoughts the last year, year and a half, whether I wanted to play anymore. Lost the love, lost the fire, lost the spark.

"Then some things just changed in my life. I don't know. I kind of just rediscovered that I've got a lot of people that want me to play, that I play for.

"I've got a lot left in the tank. I feel like I'm probably playing some of my best tennis, mentally feeling great.

"It's been a long road. I think it was a seven, eight-year gap to make a quarter-final here from my first one. It's been a heck of a ride."

with AAP

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