Rafael Nadal has pulled out of Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics to give his body ample time to recover after the French Open.
“I have decided not to participate at this year’s Championships at Wimbledon and the Olympic Games in Tokyo,” Nadal posted on Twitter on Thursday.
“It’s never an easy decision to take but after listening to my body and discuss it with my team I understand that it is the right decision.
“The goal is to prolong my career and continue to do what makes me happy, that is to compete at the highest level and keep fighting for those professional and personal goals at the maximum level of competition.”
Nadal lost an in an epic semi-final showdown against Novak Djokovic at the French Open. The 13-time French Open champion went down 6-3, 3-6, 6-7 (2), 2-6 in a contest that lasted more than four hours, with the third set alone lasting 92 minutes.
“The fact that there has only been 2 weeks between RG and Wimbledon, didn’t make it easier on my body to recuperate after the always demanding clay court season,” Nadal added.
“They have been two months of great effort and the decision I take is focused looking at the mid and long term.”
The Spaniard, along with Roger Federer, holds the record for the most number of singles men’s Grand Slam titles at 20. With the French Open win, Djokovic is just one short of their major tally.
Nadal suffered only his third defeat at Roland Garros this year. He had previously lost to Robin Soderling in 2009 and then again to Djokovic in 2015.
The Spaniard has had lots of stops and starts to his career due to injuries. At 35, he may be wise not to push it to its limits.
“Sport prevention of any kind of excess in my body is a very important factor at this stage of my career in order to try to keep fighting for the highest level of competition and titles,” he said.
“The Olympic Games always meant a lot and they were always a priority as a Sports person, I found the spirit that every sports person in the world wants to live. I personally had the chance to live 3 of them and had the honor to be the flag bearer for my country.”
Nadal is one of the few players who have won an Olympic gold along with a career Grand Slam.
He has won two Wimbledon titles (2008, 2010) and a gold medal in singles (2008) as well as men’s doubles (2016).