Published: Sun, March 17, 2019
Sports | By Juana Wells

Rafael Nadal pulls out with injury before Roger Federer semi-final

Rafael Nadal pulls out with injury before Roger Federer semi-final

A 39th showdown between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will have to wait.

Rafael Nadal after withdrawing from a clash with Roger Federer.

"I got on the golf cart back to the main building then Rafa texted me a message saying, 'It's not going to be possible, my knee's not well and I can't do it.' I went back to the house and relaxed".

"It's a big letdown", Federer said Saturday. "And at the same time, two players with a good relationship after all the things that we went through in our careers, competing for the most important things", he said.

"It's about what it means for me to have to pull out in a tournament that I love so much like this one, and in the semi-finals after playing well during the whole tournament".

Federer will therefore advance to the final with a walkover and face Dominic Thiem or Milos Raonic.

Against Raonic, Thiem earned the only break of the third set in the fifth game.

Hurkacz's nerves in his first meeting with Federer showed when he whiffed on a second-serve return on the Swiss great's first service point of the match. Federer won the last time they played at the ATP Finals in London in November. It was obvious that Nadal's movement was hampered. He hopes to return at the Monte Carlo Masters, which begins April 14.

"With all this stuff, I still where I am today", he said.

Nadal choked up discussing his withdrawal last fall and he appeared near tears on Saturday. Sometimes I feel sad because I'm in a disadvantage to all my opponents. He is ranked No. 2 in the world and has a match record of 11-2. Rusedski finally commented on Nadal's knee issues in a specific way: "He's tried so many things with those knees it's basically blood-spinning".

Even with all of his injuries, Nadal indicated he has no intention of giving up playing on hard courts, the surface for two of the four Grand Slam events.

"It's always something special to play [Federer] and also something special to compete in a Masters 1000 final", Thiem said after his semifinal match.

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