Following a tough Roland Garros defeat to Novak Djokovic, the 20-time Major winner Rafael Nadal decided to skip Wimbledon and the Olympic Games and recharge batteries for the American swing. As was expected, Rafa didn't want to travel to Tokyo this summer, and his decision about Wimbledon wasn't a big surprise when we know that he didn't win a title there since 2010 and that grass pushes his knees to the limits.
Andy Murray said that Rafa's decision comes as a blow for him and the organizers, although he understands how tough it is to compete regularly during these tough months for everyone. Nadal has played six tournaments so far in 2021, five of those on his beloved clay.
After skipping the ATP Cup due to back issues, the Spaniard wasted two sets to love advantage against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Australian Open quarter-final for a massive blow.
Rafael Nadal will not compete at Wimbledon and the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Staying away from the court for almost two months, Nadal returned in Monte Carlo and experienced the quarter-final loss to Andrey Rublev in three sets.
Stepping on the court against Tsitsipas again in Barcelona, Rafa saved a match point in a memorable final to prevail after three hours and 38 minutes and lift the first trophy since October last year. Alexander Zverev proved to be too strong in Madrid, and Rafa bounced back in Rome, fending off a match point against Denis Shapovalov and beating Novak Djokovic in the final to claim the 36th Masters 1000 crown.
At Roland Garros, the 13-time champion suffered the third loss in Paris, losing to Djokovic in the semis after four hours and 11 minutes and deciding to take a break and give his body time to recover. "It's a shame for Rafael Nadal and both tournaments he is missing.
We have to understand that the year is still challenging, with bubbles and everything; you need to be right into it and be prepared to go through that, which many players find difficult. Some competitors have been playing for the entire clay season, and it's not easy to endure both Wimbledon and the Olympic Games, physically and mentally.
I don't know if Rafa has any physical issues. He obviously looked like he had some problems at the end of the match with Novak potentially. Over in the States, it's looking like we will be playing in front of a packed crowd, and maybe the bubbles and stuff will not be as strict. I'm sure more of the players will be more committed to entering more tournaments," Andy Murray said.