Damn, it’s official. Rafael Nadal is withdrawing from Wimbledon due to knee injury and will not be defending his title.
Nadal explained the sad situation in a press conference today (quotes via the Wimbledon.com):
“I played with some problems on the knee for the last few months. I’ve been making efforts to play week after week. The truth is that sportsmen always play with pain and don’t know where the limit is, where you can get to. I think I reached that limit now.
“I will work very hard to comeback as soon as possible. One of the problems is I’m thinking more about the knees than what is happening on court and it’s very difficult to play like that.”
When Nadal was asked about his many fans and how disappointed they would be that he was not appearing at Wimbledon, the 23-year-old replied: “no more than me”.
Nadal said he was feeling better than “a couple weeks ago” when he lost at Roland Garros and then pulled out of the Queen’s Club tournament, but that he couldn’t play Wimbledon unless he felt 100% ready:
“When I enter a tournament my goal is winning and my feeling right now is I’m not ready to win.”
“It’s very painful for me but I can’t play at the tournament this year. It’s tough but it is what it is.”
The sliver of good news coming out of this is that Rafa says will overcome this injury:
Here’s what it means for the draw:
Number five seed Juan Martin Del Potro replaces Nadal at the top of the draw. The 17th seed James Blake moves to line 65 to take Del Potro’s position. Nicolas Kiefer moves to line 56 to take Blake’s position and lucky loser Thiago Alves takes Kiefer’s position on line 61.
What a huge blow to the fans and the tournament. It’s hard to imagine a Major – let alone Wimbledon – without Rafa leading the charge.
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