Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal has announced his withdrawal from Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics, saying he took the decision after consultations with his team in a bid to prolong his career.
“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(ing) it with my team I understand that it is the right decision,” Nadal posted on his Twitter account on Thursday.
Earlier this month, the 35-year-old Spaniard was knocked out of the French Open at the semi-final stage by eventual winner Novak Djokovic.
Nadal said the two-week gap between the French Open and Wimbledon – which starts on June 28 – was not enough time for him to recuperate after a demanding clay court season where he played in five tournaments. The Tokyo Olympics kicks off on July 23.
“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, twice a Wimbledon champion, said.
Nadal has won two gold medals at the Olympics – a singles title in 2008 in Beijing and a doubles gold at Rio 2016, where he was the flag bearer for Spain.
“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,” Nadal said.
“I personally had the chance to live three of them and had the honour to be the flag bearer for my country.”
Osaka withdraws from Wimbledon
Meanwhile later on Thursday, Japanese star Naomi Osaka also decided to withdrawn from Wimbledon, her agent confirmed, weeks after the world number two pulled out of the French Open citing her struggle with depression and anxiety.
“Naomi won’t be playing Wimbledon this year,” Osaka’s agent Stuart Duguid said in an email to AFP. “She is taking some personal time with friends and family. “She will be ready for the Olympics and is excited to play in front of her home fans,” Duguid added.
Osaka has been in the spotlight since withdrawing from the French Open. She was fined $15,000 and threatened with disqualification from Roland Garros after she refused to honour mandatory media commitments.
French Open organisers protested that they had treated her with “care and respect” after they were accused of being heavy-handed. Osaka lost in the third round of Wimbledon in 2017 and 2018 and bowed out in the first round in 2019.