Rafael Nadal, after 'Listening to my Body,' Won't Play at Wimbledon, Olympic Games

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Rafael Nadal, after 'Listening to my Body,' Won't Play at Wimbledon, Olympic Games

Rafael Nadal said Thursday he will not play in this year's Wimbledon or at the Olympic Games, taking one of the biggest stars of tennis out of two of the sport's biggest events in 2021.

In a series of tweets, the 20-time Grand Slam champion wrote that he was "listening to my body" in order to "prolong my career and continue to do what makes me happy."

This will be the third time since 2005 that Nadal has not played at the All England Club. He also missed Wimbledon in 2009 and 2016.

Nadal, 35, cited the short timeline between the French Open and Wimbledon as part of his decision. Nadal, a 13-time champion at Roland Garros, was eliminated in the semifinals last Friday by Novak Djokovic. The main draw at Wimbledon begins June 28.

"The fact that there has only been 2 weeks between RG and Wimbledon, didn't make it easier on my body to recuperate after the always demanding clay court season," Nadal wrote. "They have been two months of great effort and the decision I take is focused looking at the mid and long term."

After the loss to Djokovic at Roland Garros -- a grueling, four-setter that lasted more than four hours -- Nadal pointed to fatigue as an issue in the later stages of that match. The loss ended Nadal's 35-match winning streak at the French Open and his bid for a fifth consecutive title there.

Dominic Thiem, the reigning US Open champion and world No. 5, also announced he would not be participating in the upcoming Olympic Games in a statement posted to his social media accounts on Thursday.

"For me, like all athletes, taking part in the Olympics and representing my country is a huge honour and that makes this decision even tougher," Thiem wrote. "However, 2021 did not start as expected and I don't feel ready to play my best in Tokyo."

Nadal is a two-time Wimbledon champion, winning the title in 2008 and 2010, but has not made the final since 2011. He reached the semifinals in 2018 and 2019. The Grand Slam tournament was not played in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He won Olympic gold medals in singles at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and doubles at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, where he served as Spain's flag bearer at the opening ceremony.

Nadal hadn't played much during the pandemic, with a 23-4 record this year. He won two titles, in Barcelona and Rome, and also played the Monte Carlo Masters and Madrid Masters ahead of the French Open.

Thiem, defeated Alexander Zverev in the US Open final in September to claim his first major title, said he plans to "give my best at Wimbledon and keep training and hopefully defend my US Open title."

Source: ESPN