Rafael Nadal announced on Thursday that he will not be competing at this year’s Wimbledon and Tokyo Olympics in order to help his body recover after a gruelling clay-court the season.
The 35-year-old, in a statement posted on social media, said that his goal is to extend his career and he has to listen to his body in order to do that. The reduced gap between the two Grand Slams meant there was little time to recuperate and that didn’t help his long-term goal of staying at the top level.
The Spaniard won Olympic gold and Wimbledon in 2008, triumphing again at the All England Club two years later. The double Olympic champion, having won gold in singles in Beijing in 2008 and in doubles with Marc Lopez in Rio in 2016, also carried Spain’s flag in the opening ceremony.
The world No 3 was beaten by Novak Djokovic in the semi-final of the French Open last week, ending his four-year unbeaten run at the clay-court Grand Slam. It was just his third loss in 16 years at Roland Garros and was a physically demanding match that lasted over four hours.
Here’s the statement he posted:
Hi all, I have decided not to participate at this year’s Championships at Wimbledon and the Olympic Games in Tokyo. 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 he maximum level of competition.
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. They have been two months of great effort and the decision I take is focused looking at the mid and long term.
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.
I want to send a special message to my fans around the world, to those in the United Kingdom and Japan in particular.— Via Rafael Nadal on Twitter
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