MADRID – Rafael Nadal won’t play at Wimbledon or the Tokyo Olympics and said Thursday he decided to skip the two tournaments after “listening” to his body.
Nadal, who reached the semi-finals of the French Open this month but lost to Novak Djokovic, won the Wimbledon title twice. At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, he also won the Olympic gold medal in singles.
“The goal is to extend my career and continue to do what makes me happy, namely to compete at the highest level and to fight for these professional and personal goals at the highest level of competition,” said Nadal.
The 35-year-old Spaniard said the fact that there were only two weeks between Roland Garros and Wimbledon had “not made it any easier” for his body to recover from the “always demanding” clay court season.
“Sports prevention of any kind of excess in my body is a very important factor in this phase of my career in order to try to continue to fight for the highest competitive and title level,” wrote Nadal on Twitter.
Nadal is a 20-time Grand Slam champion with a record of 13 titles at the French Open.
His defeat at Roland Garros last Friday was only his third in 108 games in a tournament he had won in the last four years, including beating Djokovic in the 2020 final.
Above all, Nadal sent a “special message” to fans in Great Britain and Japan.
“The Olympics have always meant a lot and they have always been a priority as an athlete. I’ve found the spirit that every athlete in the world wants to live,” he wrote. “I personally had the chance to live 3 of them and had the honor of being the flag bearer for my country.”
Nadal hadn’t played much amid the coronavirus pandemic and had a slow start to his season. He won two titles, in Barcelona and Rome, and so far this year has had a 23-4 record.