After a morning practice session on Saturday prior to his blockbuster matchup with Federer, Nadal, 32, withdrew from the event with a knee injury.
“The week had been positive until yesterday,” the tournament website quoted Nadal as saying.
“[I have to] accept the situation, even if today is a sad moment for me. I try to be always positive and grateful with all the things that tennis has given to me and life has given to me. I can’t complain much, because I feel very fortunate for all the things that I’ve done in this life and happened to me in the world of tennis. It’s normal that after all those things you go through, there are sad and tough moments, too,” the second-seeded Nadal added.
As a result of the injury, Nadal will head home to Mallorca, skipping the upcoming Miami Open.
Reacting on his longtime rival withdrawal, the record 20-time Grand Slam champion Federer said he hopes he has not missed his last chance to play Rafael Nadal.
“I am obviously excited to be in the finals, but not this way,” Federer, 37, added.
Nadal and Federer, who have 37 Grand Slam titles between them, have not played each other since 2017.
Nadal still leads the head-to-head 23-15 over Federer.
Now, on Sunday, Federer will face Dominic Thiem after the Austrian beat Canada’s Milos Raonic 7-6 (7-3) 6-7 (3-7) 6-4. (UNI)