Rafael Nadal has confirmed his decision to withdraw from Wimbledon and the upcoming summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. The "King of Clay" is looking towards the future after withdrawing from the upcoming events.
The Spaniard has concluded a gruelling clay court season which saw him lift titles at the Italian Open and the Barcelona Open. Nadal's quest to lift a 14th title at Roland Garros was quelled by a resurgent Novak Djokovic, in what was one of the greatest matches in French Open history - not in terms of time taken but quality.
Nadal cited the need to recover physically and admitted that the short two-week break between the French Open and Wimbledon did not make it easier on his body. The 20-time men's singles Grand Slam champion spoke about the need to prolong his career, which meant avoiding untimely injuries that require lengthy recovery times.
"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," Nadal said via a social media post. "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 is a two-time Wimbledon champion having won the title in 2008 and 2010. He is also the only player among the Big Three to have had success at the Olympics having won the singles gold at the Beijing Games in 2008 and the doubles gold at the Rio Games in 2018 alongside Marc Lopez.
"I want to send a special message to my fans around the world, to those in the United Kingdom and Japan in particular," the Spaniard continued.
"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. I personally had the chance to live 3 of them and had the honor to be the flag bearer for my country."
Nadal is likely to return for the hard court swing post the summer games in Tokyo, which also includes the US Open at Flushing Meadows in New York.