MADRID – Rafael Nadal will not play at Wimbledon or the Olympic Games in Tokyo, saying on Thursday he decided to skip both tournaments after “listening” to his body.
Nadal, who reached the semi-finals at Roland Garros this month but lost to Novak Djokovic, has won the Wimbledon title twice. He also won Olympic gold in singles at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
“The goal is to extend my career and to continue doing what makes me happy, which is to compete at the highest level and continue to fight for these professional and personal goals at the highest level of competition” Nadal said.
The 35-year-old Spaniard said the fact that there are only two weeks between Roland Garros and Wimbledon “hasn’t made it easy” for his body to recover from the “always demanding” season on clay.
“Sports prevention of any kind of excess in my body is a very important factor at this stage of my career in trying to keep fighting for the highest level of competition and titles,” Nadal wrote on Twitter .
Nadal is 20 times Grand Slam champion with a record of 13 titles at Roland Garros.
His loss at Roland Garros last Friday was only his third in 108 appearances in a tournament he has won in each of the past four years, including beating Djokovic in the 2020 final.
Nadal sent a “special message” to fans in Britain and Japan in particular.
“The Olympic Games have always meant a lot and they have always been a priority as a sportsman, I have found the spirit that every sportsman in the world wants to live,” he wrote. “I personally had the chance to live 3 and I had the honor to be the flag bearer of my country.
Nadal hadn’t played much amid the coronavirus pandemic and had a slow start to the season. He has won two titles, in Barcelona and Rome, and was 23-4 so far this year.