The 20-time Major champion Rafael Nadal will skip Wimbledon for the first time since 2016, taking a couple of weeks off and charging batteries for the US Open. Nadal made a slow start to the season due to a back injury, entering only one tournament before April and embracing a full clay-court swing.
The king of clay claimed titles in Barcelona and Rome after passing a couple of challenging obstacles at both events, including saving a match point against Stefanos Tsitsipas and Denis Shapovalov. Rafa can't be pleased with other results after failing to pass the Monte Carlo and Madrid quarter-final stage.
Nadal's toughest defeat came in Paris ten days ago, losing only for the third time at Roland Garros and failing to secure the 14th crown at his beloved Major. Rafa lost to Novak Djokovic in the semi-final after four hours and 11 minutes, giving his best in the opening three sets (he could have gone two sets to one in front) and fading from the court in the fourth to propel Novak into the final.
Eager to rest his body and play well in the season's closing stages, Nadal decided to skip Wimbledon and the Olympic Games, taking a couple of weeks off and setting high goals for the US Open. Andrey Rublev admitted that Nadal's Wimbledon withdrawal will help him get one higher position among the seeded players, although that doesn't have to mean much.
Rafael Nadal will miss Wimbledon for the first time since 2016.
The Russian is aware they all could face a tricky first-round opponent in Jan-Lennard Struff or Nick Kyrgios, noting many other great servers in the draw. Andrey reached his first ATP final on grass last week in Halle, playing well but losing 6-3, 7-6 to Ugo Humbert.
With 33 ATP wins under his belt this year, Andrey is the second-best player behind Stefanos Tsitsipas, hoping for another strong run at Wimbledon. "For players like me, Rafael Nadal's Wimbledon withdrawal is a significant advantage for me, as I'm going to be seeded higher now.
Still, there are too many guys who are tough to play against on grass. For example, you can face Nick Kyrgios or Jan-Lennard Struff in the first round, and it's never easy against the big servers," Andrey Rublev said.