Rafael Nadal has been defended by Taylor Fritz after claims that the Spaniard should have allowed the world No 12 to progress at Wimbledon instead of withdrawing injured after winning their quarter-final. The world No 3 pulled out with an abdominal tear, giving Nick Kyrgios a walkover into the final.
Nadal’s Calendar Grand Slam hopes were derailed when he suffered a 7mm abdominal tear during Wimbledon. The second seed battled past Fritz in five sets in their quarter-final, later admitting he considered retiring injured while confirming his dad and sister urged him to forfeit the match from the stands.
After dispatching the American from the tournament, the 22-time Grand Slam champion was forced to pull out on the eve of his semi-final against Kyrgios, prompting the match to be cancelled and allowing the world No 47 to progress to a maiden Major final. But many claimed the move was unfair on Fritz, questioning why Nadal didn’t retire their quarter-final to give the 24-year-old a chance to play in the semis.
The American had already backed Nadal in an Instagram comment, admitting he didn’t deserve to play the semi-final, and he has now doubled-down on his comment and defended the 36-year-old’s right to withdraw. “It’s as simple as I didn’t beat him so I shouldn’t be moving on,” the Indian Wells champion said in an Instagram video with the Citi Open.
“I don’t deserve to be in the next match, it is what it is.” The world No 12 also stood up for Nadal in his decision to withdraw from the tournament a day later, admitting the world No 3 had earned that right by winning their clash.
Fritz continued: “He has the right to pull out because he beat me and that’s just how it is. I feel like I don’t really have a right to be upset about it and if I do it’s a bit of a victim mentality that I lost but I still deserve to be in the semis, that’s not how I was thinking about it.”
While he was unable to get over the line against Nadal at Wimbledon, the American was the first man to beat the 36-year-old this season, ending his 20-match winning streak in the Indian Wells final. And he came close to being the first to beat Nadal at Major level this year, losing in a final set match tiebreak.
Fritz will be back in action in Washington next week, while Nadal is back on the practice court following his injury withdrawal at Wimbledon and is set to make his comeback in two weeks’ time at the Montreal Masters.