Rafael Nadal, who was recently beaten by world no. 1 Novak Djokovic in the French Open semifinals in a gruelling four-set encounter, has pulled out of both the Tokyo Olympics and Wimbledon.
The Tokyo Olympics are scheduled for 23 July-8 August and Wimbledon from 28 June-11 July.
Nadal said on Twitter that he's pulled out to "prolong his career."
"Hi all, I have decided not to participate in 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 discussing it with my team, I understand that it is the right decision," he wrote.
"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."
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— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) June 17, 2021
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.— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) June 17, 2021
Nadal highlighted the fact that there's only a two-week gap between the French Open and Wimbledon, which is not always enough time to recover.
"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 on 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," Nadal added.
Expressing his disappointment to his Japanese and British fans, he sent a special message to them explaining that the Olympic Games have a special place in his heart and he was proud to have represented Spain three times in the past.
"I want to send a special message to my fans around the world, to those in the United Kingdom and Japan in particular. 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 signed off.
Former tennis player Vishal Uppal, who represented India in the Davis Cup, reacted to Nadal's withdrawal:
"After Rafa's departure, Novak Djokovic is now the overwhelming favourite to win the Wimbledon title and the gold medal in Tokyo."
“Nadal's exit from Wimbledon though doesn't make Roger Federer one of the favourites because there are many other great players in the draw, who have the potential to win the tournament,” he added.