RAFA NADAL intends to play a potentially explosive Wimbledon semi-final with Nick Kyrgios – despite a seven-millimetre tear in his abdominal muscle.

Overzealous security staff stopped reporters, camera crews and photographers from accessing the far edge of Aorangi Park today as the Spaniard practiced for an hour.

Nadal, 36, was given privacy by the All England Club to train but it was a gentle workout before the clash with the maverick arch-nemesis Australian on Friday.

The backhands and forehands were fine but he did not serve at full speed due to the abs issue that is threatening to ruin his Calendar Slam bid.

The 22-time Slam champion – who has won this year's Australian and French Open titles – exited the area via a backdoor.

But one thing is for sure, he will not be at full tilt as he chases a third Wimbledon crown.


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What gives this match extra spice is the historical feud between him and Kyrgios.

The Australian labelled two-time Wimbledon champion Nadal “super-salty” in a podcast rant.

They clashed in Mexico in February 2019 when cheeky Kyrgios was accused of “disrespect” by the angry Spaniard after hitting an UNDERARM first serve.

Following that fiery match in Acapulco, Nadal claimed his opponent lacked “respect for the public, the rival and himself”.

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Kyrgios, 27, then responded with an Instagram message which said: “I can smell the blood when I play this dude.”

In 2014 the Aussie, then 19 years old, shocked Nadal in four sets in the last 16 at SW19 but despite that breakthrough, he has never quite lived up to his promise in singles combat until now.

Fireworks will be expected, especially if Kyrgios smells blood once more with Nadal’s injury woes.

But Spaniard David Ferrer – who lost to Nadal in the 2013 French Open final – believes his close pal will NOT be affected by any crazy antics.

The Davis Cup tournament director told SunSport: “Rafa has a lot of experience in these type of matches.

“He has played before against Nick Kyrgios. Rafa knows that Nick is a different player on the court.

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“Rafa will be focused on himself. He is the best tennis player ever in terms of his mentality, the strongest on the Tour.

“If Rafa loses then it is because Kyrgios plays amazing, great tennis, not because of other stuff.”

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