Rafael Nadal, the 20-time Grand Slam winner, will not go for No. 21 at Wimbledon this year, he announced on Thursday. He also pulled out of the Olympics, and said a compressed schedule of major events did not allow adequate time for his body to recover.
“Hi all, I have decided not to participate at this year’s Championships at Wimbledon and the Olympic Games in Tokyo,” he wrote in a series of posts on Twitter. “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 the maximum level of competition.”
Wimbledon is played on grass, a surface that is not Nadal’s favorite. (He has won there only twice, and now will have missed the event three times since 2009.) The Olympics in Tokyo will be played on hard courts.
Nadal most recently skipped last year’s U.S. Open in New York, citing concerns about the coronavirus.
Nadal cited the short turnaround between the French Open and Wimbledon as the reason for his withdrawal, saying it would not give him enough time to recuperate.
Nadal, 35, is coming off an epic French Open semifinal against Novak Djokovic last week. In a bid to win the tournament for the 14th time, Nadal won the first two sets before eventually losing in five sets. Djokovic went on to win the tournament.
Nadal, Djokovic and Roger Federer are locked in a battle to amass the most career Grand Slam singles titles. Nadal and Federer have 20 and Djokovic has 19. No other player has more than 14.
Nadal has played in three previous Olympics, winning the singles gold medal in Beijing in 2008. In 2016, he carried the flag of Spain at the opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro.