After Rafael Nadal’s miraculous victory over Taylor Fritz despite a threatening abdominal injury, Eurosport’s Mats Wilander and Alex Corretja gave their two cents on the Spaniard taking on Nick Kyrgios in the Wimbledon semi-finals.
It took all of Nadal’s seemingly superhuman physical resilience and mental strength to beat Fritz with a scoreline of 3-6 7-5 3-6 7-5 7-6, therefore landing him in the semi-finals and still keeping his historic Calendar Slam 2022 quest alive.
Nadal took a medical timeout at 4-3 up during the second set. Afterwards, he valiantly took Fritz on and managed to overcome the odds in a final-set thriller.
After incredible triumphs at the Australian Open and French Open this year, the legendary Spaniard now aims to win his third Grand Slam singles title in succession.
As for Kyrgios, he pulled off a straight-sets victory over Cristian Garin of Chile on Wednesday evening, therefore continuing his impressive charge at Wimbledon.
For Wilander, Kyrgios will be a “nightmare opponent” for Nadal.
“It’s impossible to say [if Nadal will recover in time to play Nick Kyrgios], but I remember we did a famous interview on Phillippe-Chatrier after the final a few weeks ago and he said he had a couple of injections in his foot and his foot was put to sleep,” he said.
“Can you do that with your abdominal muscles? Maybe he can still figure out a way to serve at a decent speed? I am assuming he is not going to hit any tennis balls tomorrow and he’s going to take it very easy and recover.”
“Who is the nightmare opponent when you are feeling like this? Novak Djokovic, yes. But also Nick Kyrgios. It’s the worst news ever.”
“With Nick Kyrgios, we never talk about the way he moves because he doesn’t play that many matches – he moves incredibly well. He’s a great athlete, the hands that he has, and the shot-making skills were absolutely incredible. There was very little talking to his box, he was very controlled.”
For Corretja, what Nadal pulled off was “unreal” and “epic”.
“Only if you are Rafa Nadal are you able to know how to win this match – I have no clue how he did it, honestly. You could see Rafa was struggling with his abdominals, he probably played better when he was returning because he was using his hands more and hitting the ball a little harder,” he said.
“Sometimes when you are tired, instead of using your body you use your wrist and the ball goes even faster – that’s how I think Rafa found a way. Only Rafa Nadal, I think, can stay on the court and manage this type of situation because he is used to suffering so many of these types of injuries throughout his career.”
During his off-court interview, Nadal expressed his admiration for Fritz, saying that the American has “he’s been playing great the whole season.”
“From my personal side, it was not an easy match at all, so I’m just very happy to be in the semi-final,” Nadal said.
Nadal also remembered the historic match between him and Roger Federer in Wimbledon 2008, in which he won.
“Yes, it was a long time ago, but it is impossible not to remember that final with Roger [Federer], all the special moments we shared around the world.”
Regarding the upcoming semi-final, Nadal said:
“First thing, I hope to be ready to play it [the semi-final]. Nick [Kyrgios] is a great player on all surfaces, but especially on grass; he is having a great grass-court season.”
“It’s going to be a big challenge and I’m going to need to be at my 100 per cent to have a chance, and that is what I am going to try to do.”