A hurting Rafael Nadal exhibited heroic mental strength to edge American 11th seed Taylor Fritz in a final set tiebreaker during a captivating Wimbledon quarter-final on Wednesday to keep alive his quest for a calendar year Grand Slam.
Struggling with an abdominal injury, Nadal appeared close to retiring mid-match but found the will to beat Fritz 3-6, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (10-4) in four hours and 20 minutes to set up a semi-final showdown against Australian maverick Nick Kyrgios.
During the second set Nadal's father and sister fervently urged him from the player's box at Centre Court to put an end to his misery, but the two-time former Wimbledon champion paid no heed to the requests.
"They told me I need to retire from the match," said Nadal, adding that he himself considered giving up quite a few times. "Well, I tried. For me it was tough to retire in the middle of the match."
"I did it a couple of times in my tennis career. It's something that I hate to do. So I just keep trying."
Fans and celebrities from all over the world have been reacting to the sensational win.
Sachin Tendulkar lavished praise on Nadal as he produced another dramatic show. "A super competitor who never ever gives up despite all adversities. Amazing game of tennis last evening @RafaelNadal. The way you compete each time you're on the court is just brilliant to watch," tweeted Sachin.
Spain’s goalkeeper David de Gea aptly described his fellow countryman as "not human" after the phenomenal win. "Is not human, Rafael Nadal"
Spanish footballer José María Gutiérrez Hernández complimented his fellow countryman, calling him the "best Spanish athlete of all time."