Tue, 03 Aug 2021

World number three Rafael Nadal on Thursday pulled out of Wimbledon and the Olympic Games citing a need to protect his body in order to prolong his career.

The 35-year-old last played at the French Open in Paris where he was beaten in four gruelling sets by the eventual champion Novak Djokovic.

In the immediate of the defeat on 11 June, Nadal hinted he might reconsider his schedule.

On social media, he explained there was not enough time for him to recover for the start of Wimbledon on 28 June following a clay court season in which he played in Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome and Paris.

Effort

"The fact that there has only been two weeks between Roland Garros and Wimbledon, didn't make it easier on my body to recuperate after the always demanding clay court season," Nadal tweeted.

"They have been two months of great effort and the decision I take is focused looking at the mid and long term."

Nadal beat Roger Federer in 2008 to lift his first title on the grass courts at Wimbledon and claimed a second two years later against Tomas Berdych. He won his title at the Olympics in 2008 in Beijing.

"The Olympic Games always meant a lot and they were always a priority as a sports person," added Nadal.

"I found the spirit that every sports person in the world wants to live. I personally had the chance to live three of them and had the honour to be the flag bearer for my country."

Djokovic will be the favourite for Wimbledon. The 34-year-old Serb will be top seed and expected to lift a 20th Grand Slam tournament title to draw level with Nadal and Roger Federer.

Soon after hoisting a second French Open title to become only the third man to have won at least two times at all four Grand Slam tournament venues in Melbourne, Paris, London and New York, Djokovic said he wanted to be the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all the four Grand Slam tournaments in the same year as well as the Olympic gold medal.

Originally published on RFI

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