Rafael Nadal withdraws from Wimbledon, Tokyo Olympics in hopes to ‘prolong’ his career

USATSI

One of tennis greatest players is taking some time off, and in return will be missing two of the sports biggest events on the 2021 calendar. In an announcement on social media Thursday morning, Rafael Nadal revealed that he won’t be participating in Wimbledon or the Tokyo Olympics this year.

Nadal said that it wasn’t “an easy decision,” but believes it was the best move for his overall health.

“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 wrote. “The fact that there has only been two weeks between RG (French Open) and Wimbledon, didn’t make it easier on my body to recuperate after the always demanding clay court season. They have been two months of great effort and the decision I take is focused looking at the mid and long term.”

Nadal is slated to be replaced as the No. 3 seed at Wimbledon by Stefanos Tsitsipas, who advanced to the French Open final before losing to Djokovic. Nadal is fresh off of advancing to the French Open semifinals, where he ultimately lost to the eventual champion and top seeded Novak Djokovic. 

The Spanish star has won Wimbledon on two different occasions — in 2008 and 2010. In addition, Nadal won a gold medal in singles competition at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and doubles gold with Marc Lopez at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016.

Overall, Nadal has won 20 Grand Slam titles over the course of his legendary career, which is tied with Roger Federer for the most all-time. That number will stay at 20 at least until the US Open begins in August.