Nadal to miss Wimbledon in order to prioritise Paris 2024 Olympics

The Spaniard will sit out the grass-court Grand Slam to avoid a quick turnaround of surface changes prior to the Olympics

Rafael Nadal, Wimbledon, 2022 Spain’s Rafael Nadal reacts during his quarter final match against Taylor Fritz of the U.S. (AI/Reuters/Panoramic)

Rafael Nadal has confirmed that he will miss this year’s Wimbledon Championships.

In a message on social media, the Spaniard explained that the quick turnaround between surfaces from grass back to the clay would be too much of a risk for his body as he continues his comeback after being sidelined for most of the past 18 months with hip and abdominal injuries.

Wimbledon starts on July 1st, while the tennis event in the Olympics gets underway just under four weeks later on July 27th.

Following his first-round loss to Alexander Zverev at this year’s French Open, Nadal indicated that it would be unlikely he would play at Wimbledon. With the Olympic Games in Paris also being played on the clay courts of Roland-Garros and coming so soon after the end of the Championships, he said he felt that a repeated change of surfaces in such a short period of time would not be “a good idea.”

The 22-time Grand Slam champion has now reiterated that initial feeling, echoing the same sentiments he expressed back in late May and confirming his absence from Wimbledon.

“During my post match press conference at Roland-Garros I was asked about my summer calendar and since then I have been practising on clay,” Nadal wrote.

“It was announced yesterday that I will play at the summer Olympics in Paris, my last Olympics. With this goal, we believe that the best for my body is not to change surface and keep playing on clay until then.

“It’s for this reason that I will miss playing at the Championships this year at Wimbledon. I am saddened not to be able to live this year the great atmosphere of that amazing event that will always be in my heart, and be with all the British fans that always gave me great support. I will miss you all.”

Nadal also announced that he would compete at the Nordea Open in Bastad, Sweden, as a warm-up event for the Olympics.

“In order to prepare for the Olympic Games, I will play the tournament in Bastad, Sweden,” he continued.

“[It is] a tournament that I played earlier in my career and where I had a great time both on and off the court. Looking forward to seeing you all there.”

The Spaniard is a two-time champion at the All England Club, but has not lifted the Wimbledon title since 2010 and has frequently struggled at the tournament over the course of the past 12 years since last making the final there in 2011.

While Nadal has made it clear that he wishes to say farewell to the tournaments that have meant most to him in his career, he has always been guided by what will be best for him physically.

He has made no secret of his desire to play one last Olympics, especially given that it will take place on his hallowed Parisian clay courts.

With this in mind, playing Wimbledon simply seems too great a risk. Grass can be an unpredictable surface, with players more prone to slipping on these courts than they are on hard or clay. Add to this the impact that such a jarring switch of surfaces in under a month would have on the body, and Nadal’s decision starts to feel inevitable.

However, for the optimistic observers, it may also indicate a potential feeling among the Nadal camp that a return to the All England Club next summer is not entirely out of the question.

The Spaniard’s farewell tour of 2024 has been conspicuously short of any actual farewells, barring his emotional goodbye in Madrid.

If both Nadal’s level of tennis and his body hold up well enough for him to remain competitive for the rest of the year, then perhaps his swansong tour may extend into the first half of 2025.

If that were the case, then one last visit to SW19 would surely be high up on the Spaniard’s bucket list.

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