Friday was supposed to feature a pair of Wimbledon semifinal matchups in men’s singles play. Instead, it’ll just be No. 1 Novak Djokovic and No. 9 Cameron Norrie duking it out for the chance to play Nick Kyrgios in Sunday’s championship.
Twenty-two-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal — who has already won the Australian Open and French Open this year — was forced to pull out of his semifinal tilt on Thursday due to a seven-millimeter abdominal tear, sending Kyrgios into the Final via walkover. Nadal’s injury came during his five-set marathon victory against Taylor Fritz in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
ESPN’s Tom Hamilton reported Friday morning on how Kyrgios has been dealing with the unusual situation. Per Hamilton, Kyrgios felt “disappointment” when he heard the news on Nadal.
“Then he said he only managed one hour of sleep on Thursday night and was ‘a reckless ball of energy’ as he processed the news,” Hamilton wrote. “Kyrgios on Friday said he was hoping for a ‘third chapter’ after going 1-1 in two previous matches against Nadal at Wimbledon.”
The 27-year-old Australian will be competing in his first Grand Slam final on Sunday.
“My energy was so focused on playing [Nadal] and tactically how I’m going to go out there and play, the emotions of walking out there, all that type of stuff,” Kyrgios said. “But, you know, it wouldn’t have been easy for him to do that [withdraw]. … He barely lost a match this year. He wanted to probably go for all four. So it wouldn’t be easy. I hope he gets better.”
Kyrgios has had a controversy-filled run to the championship, as he was fined $10,000 for spitting in the direction of a fan early in the tournament before later pulling off an upset of No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas. He is also currently facing an alleged assault charge and is due to appear in court in August.