Rafael Nadal tried everything. In the afternoon, the Spanish tennis superstar still struggled on the training ground – in the evening he sadly announced the end of all dreams of the first Grand Slam in men’s tennis in 53 years. Due to a painful abdominal muscle injury, the 22-time Grand Slam tournament winner cannot compete in his semi-final against Australian Nick Kyrgios on Friday.

He has a tear in his abdominal muscle, said the 36-year-old at a press conference called at short notice on Thursday evening. “I’ve been thinking about my decision all day, but it makes no sense to compete.” He feels “very sad”. He will probably have to sit out for three to four weeks – the start at the US Open, which begins in New York at the end of August, remains a realistic goal.

Due to Nadal’s withdrawal, the 27-year-old Kyrgios is without a fight in the first Grand Slam final of his career. The controversial Australian meets the winner of the match between the top seeded defending champion Novak Djokovic from Serbia and Cameron Norrie from Great Britain on Sunday.

Nadal had already been treated for the injury and received anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers in his five-set win in the quarterfinals against American Taylor Fritz. With the withdrawal, the chance for the dream final against Djokovic and the first Grand Slam in men’s tennis for more than half a decade is over. Only two wins in Wimbledon and a triumph at the US Open were missing to win all four major titles of the year like Rod Laver did in 1969.

“The most important thing for me is luck, not titles, even if everyone knows what I did to get here. I can’t risk being completely out for two or three months,” Nadal said. “The dream of Wimbledon is over for Rafa Nadal,” headlined “As”.

Before the start of the tournament, the Spaniard reported that the chronic pain in his left foot had been relieved with a special therapy. In Barcelona, ​​Nadal had undergone pulsed radiofrequency therapy. The affected foot nerves are numbed with this treatment and can no longer transmit the pain stimulus to the brain. Nadal has been suffering from Müller-Weiss Syndrome, a rare and degenerative disease, for several years.

With Nadal’s waiver, tennis fans are missing out on a much-anticipated semi-final. In his usual cocky way, Kyrgios had announced the third Wimbledon duel between the two very different stars with pithy words. “The game would make anyone’s mouth water in the world,” enthused the Australian. “This will probably be the most watched match of all time.”

Now Kyrgios has three days off to prepare for his first Grand Slam final. After the quarrelsome Australian with the bad-boy image had caused a stir again in Wimbledon with wild abuse of referees, he showed unusually concentrated performances in the round of 16 and quarter-finals.