break point; TENNIS: FRENCH OPEN Crocked Rafa out of Paris and could miss Wimbledon.
BY NEIL McLEMAN RAFA NADAL is a major doubt for Wimbledon after pulling out of the French Open yesterday with a wrist injury.
The nine-time Roland Garros champion revealed he played his first two matches in Paris with anaesthetic injected into his tendon. But an emotional Nadal admitted he could no longer tolerate the pain - and is now in a race against time to return in SW19 on June 27.
"The pain is increasing, and I cannot play forehand at all," said the winner of 14 Grand Slams. "It's really inflamed.
"There comes a time when I can't hit the ball any more. There was no chance that I can even practise today. It is not broken, but if I had kept playing it would have been broken in a couple of days." Nadal, 29, has a history of injury problems with his knees and his right wrist. But he insisted this was a new injury suffered in Madrid.
"Maybe I'll be three months off the circuit," he said. "I can tell you that I will not play before I have recovered entirely."
Andy Murray said: "I knew he was struggling with his wrist. I practised with him and his wrist was heavily taped up. He was grimacing sometimes when he was hitting his forehand."
Nadal, who has only lost two out of 72 matches here, was scheduled to face world No.1 Novak Djokovic in a blockbuster semi-final.
The Serb today faces British No.2 Aljaz Bedene. Davis Cup captain Leon Smith said: "Aljaz has got to go for that first forehand, be aggressive and dictate as many points as he can."