American tennis legend John McEnroe acknowledged that Rafael Nadal is a great fighter and competitor, but suggested the Spaniard could have played his Wimbledon semi-final if the opponent was other than Nick Kyrgios. Nadal required off-court medical intervention for an abdominal injury in the second set of his Wimbledon quarterfinal match against Taylor Fritz.
Nadal was able to finish the match and beat Fritz in more than four hours of play, but the next day he withdrew from his semi-final against Kyrgios after scans showed an abdominal tear. “Rafa being the fighter that he always is, he decides to play and he wins.
Was it going to get significantly worse? I don’t know the answer to that,” McEnroe said on the BBC, according to Tennis365. “Could he have played? He beat Taylor Fritz at 80%. He served at 100 mph for most of the game.
[But Kyrgios] is dominating Wimbledon in many ways. His game, his story, his talent, do you really think that Rafa wanted to play against him at 80%? Something tells me he didn’t want to do it.” Kyrgios, 27, is probably playing the tournament of his life, as he has reached his first Grand Slam final at Wimbledon.
Furthermore, Kyrgios considers grass to be his best surface, while it is no secret that grass is Nadal’s least favorite surface. “[Kyrgios] is in better shape than I’ve seen in six or seven years,” McEnroe added.
“He’s being professional; I love it! He’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever seen, on and off the court. He’s so smart on the court that he doesn’t even need a coach.”
Lopez pays tribute to Rafa Nadal
Spanish tennis player Feliciano Lopez praised his compatriot Rafael Nadal.
“When he is healthy there are very few players who can beat him,” said Lopez. “We have long run out of words to describe what Rafa does. You have to enjoy it because at 36 years old that a player is able to win two Grand Slams in the circumstances that he has, it is very difficult to explain in words what he is doing.”
The former World No. 12 added that he agrees with Nadal’s decision to withdraw from Wimbledon. “I think it’s the best decision he could make because of the circumstances,” Lopez acknowledged. “Rafa plays the Grand Slams to win them and it doesn’t make sense for him to jump on the court in those conditions and there is also the risk of hurting himself more and endangering the rest of the season.”