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RAFAEL NADAL

Rafael Nadal to miss Wimbledon with wrist injury

Rafael Nadal will miss Wimbledon after failing to recover from the wrist injury which also forced his early withdrawal from the French Open, the Spanish star announced on his Facebook page.

Rafael Nadal to miss Wimbledon with wrist injury
Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

“Hi everybody. I'm sad to announce that after talking to my doctors, and receiving the results of my last medical revision, I won't be able to play at Wimbledon this year,” wrote the 30-year-old who is desperate to be fit for the Rio Olympics in August.

“As you can all imagine, it's a very tough decision, but the injury I suffered at Roland Garros needs time to heal.”

The 14-time Grand Slam title winner was Wimbledon champion in 2008 and 2010.

He pulled out of the French Open, where he has been champion on nine occasions, after injuring a tendon in his left wrist having played just two rounds.

Nadal has endured a roller-coaster relationship with Wimbledon. He missed the 2004 and 2009 events through injury.

His suffered a second round exit in 2012 to Lukas Rosol, a first round loss against Steve Darcis in 2013, a last-16 run in 2014 which was ended by Nick Kyrgios while he was knocked out in the second round last year by Germany's Dustin Brown.

Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 US Open champion whose own career has been blighted by wrist injuries, backed Nadal to return to the big time.

“My advice is just to take your time,” said del Potro in Stuttgart where he is playing this week's grasscourt tournament.

“Don't push yourself and don't risk. The wrist suffers when you play and train. If you are not feeling at 100 percent then you need to wait.”

“Rafa is s big fighter, I'm sure he will be back on the courts very shortly.”

On Wednesday, his uncle Toni, who is also his long-time coach, admitted that there had been no time set for his nephew's return.

“We don't want to put in danger his participation in the Olympic Games,” said Toni Nadal.

“(Rafa) will return when the doctors are convinced that all is going well. He won't play unless he's 100 per cent.”

Wimbledon, the season's third Grand Slam event, gets under way at the All England Club on June 27th.

Nadal, the world number five, is keen to play at the Rio Olympics after being unable to defend his gold medal at the 2012 London Games because of a knee injury.

He had been scheduled to be his country's flag-bearer at the opening ceremony.

Nadal has been plagued by injuries throughout his career with a right wrist problem forcing him to miss the 2014 US Open.

In 2015, he slumped to 10 in the world at one stage, his lowest ranking in a decade and also failed to win a Grand Slam title for the first time since 2004.

A statement on Thursday from Nadal's agent Benito Perez-Barbadillo read: “Rafa's left wrist will continue (to be) immobilised for a maximum of two weeks. After that the player will start an anti-inflammatory rehabilitation and physiotherapy-based treatment once the cast is removed.”

Wimbledon will also be without another former champion this year after 2004 women's winner Maria Sharapova was banned for two years for failing a doping test.

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RAFAEL NADAL

‘I was down mentally and physically’ admits Rafa Nadal on winning 12th Roland Garros title

Rafael Nadal admitted that his record 12th Roland Garros title was one of his most special after an injury-hit start to 2019 had left him "down mentally and physically" and questioning his love for the sport.

'I was down mentally and physically' admits Rafa Nadal on winning 12th Roland Garros title
Nadal celebrates after winning his 12th title in Paris. Photo: AFP

The 33-year-old swept to an 18th Grand Slam crown with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 victory over Austria's Dominic Thiem in a repeat of the 2018 final.

Nadal is now just two behind Roger Federer's all-time record of 20 majors and three ahead of Novak Djokovic who was knocked out by Thiem in the semi-finals.

However, Nadal said that his troubled season leading up to the French Open had left him facing new fears about his ability to defend his title in Paris.

“I was not enjoying it too much, I was worried about my health. I was down mentally and physically after Indian Wells,” said Nadal.

“I was too negative. After Madrid and Barcelona, I was thinking about what I needed to do. I could stop for a while and recover or change my attitude and recover.”


An emotional Nadal collects his prize. Photo: AFP

After a loss in the Australian Open final to Djokovic where he won just eight games, a second round exit in Acapulco was followed by a withdrawal from the semi-finals in Indian Wells, when a knee injury meant that an eagerly-awaited clash with Federer was shelved.

His return in the clay court season saw semi-finals losses in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid before a much needed title triumph in Rome.

“This is a very satisfying victory. In 2018, I only played nine events and finished just seven of them,” he added.

“I had issues with my knee and surgery on my foot, so many issues in the last 18 months that have made the last few weeks very special.”

Nadal revealed that in Barcelona, he had locked himself away where he ended up questioning where his season was heading.

“Mentally, I lost a little bit of that energy, because I had too many issues in a row. It is tough when you receive one after another, and then sometimes you are groggy,” he explained.

“In Barcelona, I was able to stay alone for a couple of hours in the room and think about what's going on, what I need to do.

“One possibility was to stop for a while and recover my body. And the other was change drastically my attitude and my mentality to play the next couple of weeks.

“Thinking a lot, finally I think I was able to change and was able to fight back for every small improvement that I was able to make that happen.”

 

World number two Nadal took his Paris record to an astonishing 93 wins and just two losses having previously won the title in 2005-2008, 2010-2014, 2017 and 2018.

It also gave him an 82nd career title and 950th match win.

“All the things that I went through probably give me that extra passion when I am playing, because I know I will not be here forever.

“So I just try to be positive, to be intense, and to be passionate about what I am doing.”

Nike produced a compliation video of Nadal, beginning when he was just 16 years-old. 

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