John McEnroe jokingly stated the he “made a mistake” in his clothing decision for Friday’s action at Wimbledon with the sun glaring down on the famous tennis ground just a day after Rafael Nadal’s sensational withdrawal from the tournament. The men’s semi finals were set to be the biggest day of the championships with two mouthwatering ties.
Novak Djokovic and Cameron Norrie were facing off on one side but the main event was set to be Nadal against Nick Kyrgios. There have been plenty of fireworks between the pair in previous matches and it was against Nadal at Wimbledon eight years ago where Kyrgios truly announced himself on the world stage.
But Thursday evening saw Nadal announce that he would be unable to continue in the tournament due to the stomach tear he suffered earlier in the Championships. That gave Kyrgios a free pass into Sunday’s final with Djokovic and Norrie playing to face off against the Australian.
Fans attending Friday for both men’s semi finals would have been left frustrated and McEnroe was also gutted to be robbed of a chance to see Nadal and Kyrgios on court together. The American tennis icon arrived to Wimbledon dressed in a black top and he jokingly admitted on air that his clothing attire was due to the “day of mourning” created by Nadal pulling out of Wimbledon.
“I made a mistake,” McEnroe said on BBC. “I wore black because it’s a day of mourning because I can’t believe that number one Boris Johnson resigned, but that’s a political thing.
“Then you’ve got Rafael Nadal not playing so that’s like a major punch in the gut for all of us. There’s a huge void that hopefully your boy Cam Norrie can fill a little bit and make a match of it today.”
Nadal’s withdrawal sparked some conversation about the lucky-loser rule to avoid the scenario of Kyrgios getting to progress to the final without playing a match. Taylor Fritz made it clear on Thursday evening that he wouldn’t have wanted to be given a pass into the semi-finals after losing to Nadal.
But McEnroe questioned why Nadal hadn’t defaulted from his match with Fritz if the injury was as serious as he later discovered. “Rafa being the fighter that he always is decides I’m going to play and wins, now we’re in the semis,” McEnroe added.
“I’m no doctor. Can you imagine if he had said at match point, I know I’m not gonna be able to go in two days, I’m gonna give it to Taylor and let them play in the semis. And then B, if he does decide to win it because their pros now, was it going to get significantly worse? I don’t know the answer to that.
“He beat Taylor Fritz at 80 per cent. He was serving at 100mph most of the match. Could he have potentially served at 100mph? But you know something, Nick Kyrgios got in the middle of this. Nick Kyrgios is dominating Wimbledon in a lot of ways because of his play, some of the goings on, his history, his talent.
“Do you think Rafa really wanted to play him at 80 per cent? Something tells me he didn’t want to do that. So you get in this bummer scenario where there’s no match at all.”