Rafael Nadal announces departure: What does this news mean for Wimbledon?
Tennis phenom Rafael Nadal announced earlier this morning that he would be withdrawing from both Wimbledon as well as the 2021 Summer Olympics. The twenty-time Grand Slam Champion made it loud & clear that he planned on listening to his body, focusing on attrition so that he may have longer-term benefits in his career. Makes sense, given that Nadal, while still incredible, is no longer a spring chicken.
This will only be the third time since 2005 that Rafael Nadal has not played at the all England Club, having missed the Wimbledon tournament in both 2009 as well as 2016. The thirty-five-year-old Nadal hinted at the short break in between the French Open and Wimbledon as part of his reasoning to withdraw, focusing on keeping his body in line for the long-term, even if it means sacrificing possible achievements in the short-term.
The two-time Wimbledon champion, having claimed victory in both 2008 and 2010, is clearly one of the bigger names in tennis, drawing in audiences from around the world in numbers that nearly match one of tennis’s elites in Novak Djokovic, who eliminated Nadal in the semi-finals during last Friday’s French Open. How much will this hurt the sport of tennis? Let’s delve into Nadal’s reasoning and see what’s up.
Rafael Nadal posted the disappointing news on Twitter this morning, stating the following: “Hi all, I have decided not to participate at this year’s Championships at Wimbledon and the Olympic Games in Tokyo. 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.”
He continued: “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 went on: “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. They have been two months of great effort and the decision I take is focused looking at the mid and long term.”
Nadal concluded by acknowledging his Olympic withdrawal: “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.”
COVID ruined sports
Rafael Nadal’s sediment about professional sporting events having little to no breaks in between was echoed earlier this week by LeBron James, a superstar for the LA Lakers. LeBron, whose Lakers were eliminated in the playoffs earlier this month, voiced that the NBA didn’t take the proper precautions after ending their “bubble” season in October, and opting to start the new NBA season only two months later.
Now, LeBron James claims that, because two separate NBA seasons were pinned too close together, star players are now dropping like flies in what is supposed to be the most exciting time of the season, the playoffs.
Maybe Rafael Nadal really is on to something? Hopefully, the news doesn’t break out that he’s retiring outright for the rest of the year. The sport needs him on the biggest stages.
What do you make of this news from Rafael Nadal? Do you believe that this is sad news for the tennis fanbase? Who do you think is the favorite going into Wimbledon now that Nadal has withdrawn? Comment below and let us know your thoughts.