Nadal WD's before Federer clash with knee injury

Now Roger Federer believes he can win big titles again says pundit

"What I'm going to do is come back home and try to do a smooth transition to clay, try to be 100 percent for the first event, that's going to be Monte Carlo for me", he said.

The longtime foes have amassed 37 Grand Slam titles between them - Federer with 20 and Nadal with 17 - and built a unique relationship over 15 years and 38 prior matches, not to mention countless promotional and charitable activities off the court together.

The world number two received treatment to the knee during his gruelling quarter-final win over Russia's Karen Khachanov on Friday.

Nadal, who said he hoped and expected to be fit for a semi-final showdown with old foe Roger Federer on Saturday, wanted to be careful when asked if he thought playing on hard courts contributed to his history of injury.

Federer said he might not feel quite the same tingle of anticipation as fans at the prospect of facing Nadal, but he acknowledged that their clashes always raise the stakes.

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It's particularly devastating since Nadal was looking forward to a relatively healthy 2019 campaign after coping with multiple injuries past year.

"I warmed up today and I felt that my knee was not good to compete at the level I needed to compete in semi-final", Spain's Nadal said in a statement.

Nadal choked up discussing his withdrawal last fall, and he appeared near tears on Saturday.

Just hours earlier Federer had looked forward to the chance to take on a healthy Nadal, after similar knee trouble spelled the end of the Spaniard's US Open campaign last year, and his US Open campaign last year.

"It's tough for me to accept all these things that I'm going through in my career". "I can not guarantee how I'm going to wake up tomorrow morning". "The things that I can't control, I can't control".

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