MADRID (AP) — Rafael Nadal
announced Thursday that he will not compete at Wimbledon
or the Tokyo Olympics
, citing a decision made after “listening” to his body
Nadal, who reached the French Open
semifinals last week but lost to Novak Djokovic, has won Wimbledon twice, in 2008 and 2010. He has also won Olympic gold medals in singles and doubles at the 2008 Beijing
Games and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro
“The goal is to extend my career and continue to do what makes me happy, which is to compete at the highest level and fight for those professional and personal goals at the highest level of competition,” Nadal explained.
The fact that there are only two weeks between Roland Garros and Wimbledon "didn't make it easier" on his body to recover from "the always demanding" clay-court season, according to the 35-year-old Spaniard.
“Sport prevention of any kind of excess in my body is a very important factor at this stage of my career in order to try to keep fighting for the highest level of competition and titles,” Nadal tweeted.
Hello everyone, I've decided not to compete in this year's Wimbledon Championships or the Olympic Games
in Tokyo. It's never an easy decision to make, but after listening to my body and discussing it with my team, I believe it's the right one — Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) June 17, 2021
Nadal has 20 Grand Slam
titles to his name, including a record 13 titles at the French Open.
His defeat at Roland Garros last Friday was only his third in 108 matches at the tournament, which he has won each of the last four years, including by defeating Djokovic in the final in 2020.
Nadal sent a "special message" to fans
in the United Kingdom
“The Olympic Games have always meant a lot to me and they have always been a priority as a sports
person, I found the spirit that every sports person in the world wants to live,” he wrote, adding, “I personally had the chance to live three of them and had the honor to be the flag bearer for my country.”
Nadal hadn't played much due to the coronavirus pandemic
and had a slow start to his season, but he won two titles this year, in Barcelona and Rome
, and had a 23-4 record.