‘Injured’ Rafael Nadal pulls out of Olympics
MADRID / LONDON - Agence France-Presse
Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts as he plays Czech Lukas Rosol during their second round match during Wimbledon at the All England Lawn Tennis Club on June 28.
Rafael Nadal is dropping out of the London Olympics because he is not in form to compete, the Spanish tennis world number two said in a statement yesterday.
“I am not in condition to compete in the London Olympics, so I will not be travelling as planned with the Spanish delegation to compete in them,” said Nadal, who had been recovering from a knee injury.
Nadal, who won the singles tournament at the 2008 Beijing Games, was set to be the flag bearer for Spain during the opening ceremony.
He said that the decision “is one of the saddest days of my career as one of my biggest ambitions, that of being Spain’s flag bearer in the opening ceremony of the games in London, cannot be. You can imagine how difficult it was to take this decision.”
More time to rest
Meanwhile, Wimbledon will be moved back one week from 2015 in a bid to allow players more time to rest and adapt to grass after the French Open, organizers announced yesterday.
All England Club chiefs agreed the schedule switch after pressure from several stars including world number one Novak Djokovic and two-time Wimbledon champion Rafael Nadal, who believe the current two-week gap between the conclusion of the clay-court season at Roland Garros and the start of the third Grand Slam of the year is too short.
Djokovic, Nadal and many of their peers have complained that the present schedule doesn’t offer sufficient recovery time after the French Open and leaves little opportunity to play enough matches on grass to make the alterations required to deal with the unique challenges of the faster surface.
The entire grass-court season lasts for just five weeks, with the majority of the tour played on hard and clay courts.
But the decision to move Wimbledon back will allow for more rest after Paris and could open up space for additional grass-court events.
Philip Brook, Chairman of the All England Club, said: “The best interests of tennis will be served by allowing the players more time to recuperate and to adjust from the clay of Roland Garros to the grass at Wimbledon.
“All our research indicates that there is widespread support within the game for extending the gap between the French Open and Wimbledon and, importantly, we think most players will welcome the prospect of a longer grass court season and spending more time on the softer surface of grass.
“In making this change from 2015 we recognize that there will be some important consequences for the overall tennis calendar and enough time needs to be given to allow us all to plan accordingly.
“I would like to thank our colleagues throughout the game for their enthusiasm and support for the vision of a tennis calendar that will better suit the needs of the modern day sport.” Asked about the need to allow more time between the two Grand Slams, 2010 Wimbledon champion Djokovic recently said: “It would give especially the top players a little bit more time to get used to the surface.
“Logically speaking, it is the slowest surface that we’re talking about - clay - moving to the fastest one, which takes time. Over the years we all had to adjust. We will try to find a better solution.”
Wimbledon 2015 will run from June 29 to July 12.