June 17, (THEWILL)- The undisputed King of the clay courts of tennis, Rafael Nadal, on Thursday, pulled out of both Wimbledon and the Olympic Games confirming that he was not going to participate in either.
THEWILL recalls that in the epic French Open semi-final on Sunday, on the turf where Nadal has reigned without loss in 97 matches, Novak Djokovic defeated the Spaniard 3-6 6-3 7-6 6-2 that was a distinctive demonstration of Djokovic’s all-round excellence as the highest ranked tennis player.
The loss marked only the third time Nadal had ever tasted defeat in Paris, two of which came at the hands of Djokovic. The toll that must have taken on his mind and body was made all the clearer when Nadal posted on social media his decision to focus on post clay-court season recuperation.
The Spaniard’s post began: “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 discussing it with my team I understand that it is the right decision. The fact that there has only been two 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. 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. The Olympic Games always meant a lot and they were always a priority as a sportsperson, I found the spirit that every sportsperson 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.”
THEWILL notes that this will be another instance of sportsmen and women paying attention to their general well-being and wholesome health of mind and body. It comes after Naomi Osaka was fined for prioritising her mental health over press conferences and Roger Federer pulling out of round four in Paris rather than overstrain his recovering knees.
As a 20-time Grand Slam winner, Nadal has established himself as one of the greatest competitors in tennis history. As he alluded to, he also won gold in the singles and in the doubles at the 2008 and 2016 Olympics respectively.
At the All-England Club, the two-time Wimbledon winner reached the semi-final stage of The Championships in 2018 and 2019, losing to Djokovic and Roger Federer, and last won the grass-court Grand Slam in 2010.
The competition in Wimbledon is due to start on Monday June 28 and run through to Sunday July 11, with the tennis tournament at the Olympics starting on Saturday July 24 and finishing on Friday July 30.