Rafael Nadal says he withdrew from Wimbledon to protect his tennis career as he feared a lengthy layoff could prove to be the end for him.
Nadal suffered an abdominal tear during his quarterfinal win over Taylor Fritz, and after a scan he opted to withdraw ahead of the semi-final.
That was a huge disappointment for many, especially given it would have been against Nick Kyrgios, but Nadal says he believes the correct decision has been made.
We have seen with Roger Federer how difficult it is to recover from a long layoff once you get passed 35, and Nadal has understandably erred on the side of caution.
“The most dangerous thing that can happen today is that I end my tennis career, because I think that things are going to go better without a doubt,” he said.
“As I always said, for me the most important thing is happiness more than any title, even if everybody knows how much effort I put to be here.
“But I can't risk that match and stay two, three months outside of the competition because that would be a tough thing for me. If that happens, it happens. But not because I was not doing things the proper way."
Many have suggested Rafael Nadal should have retired mid-match so Taylor Fritz could have the opportunity to advance instead.
However, Nadal said he still had hope he could not only continue in the tournament, but maybe even win it.
“I didn't want to pull out in the middle of a quarter-finals match,” he said. I found a way to finish the match and that is something that I am proud of.
"At the beginning of the match, I was playing at a very, very high level, If anything, that makes me feel a little bit worse because I felt that playing at the level that I was playing, probably I will have a chance.
“But then you confirm that you have an injury, then you make the decision thinking about your health and your future.”
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