Rafael Nadal was unable to clinch his 14th Roland Garros title this month, as well as having to postpone his appointment with overtaking eternal rival Roger Federer in the all-time Grand Slam standings. The Spanish champion's journey in Paris was interrupted in the semifinals against Novak Djokovic, capable of inflicting his third absolute defeat in the French capital and flying towards success.
A few days after his elimination at the French Open, the former world number 1 announced that he will not participate in either Wimbledon or the Tokyo Olympics. The 35-year-old from Manacor will take a couple of months off in order to regenerate, before returning to the pitch at the start of the American swing.
It is not the first time that Rafa has missed the Championships after failing the assault on Roland Garros (it had already happened in 2009 and 2016), but there is no doubt that the week less he has influenced the decision of the Iberian.
In a recent interview with 'Marca', Mats Wilander expressed his disappointment at the choice of the 20-time Grand Slam champion.
Rafael Nadal played a grueling French Open semifinal vs Djokovic
Rafael Nadal played a grueling French Open 2021 semifinal against World No.1 and arch-rival Novak Djokovic.
He lost that battle and hence raised fitness concerns ahead of Wimbledon. With not a lot of time to recover between Roland Garros and Wimbledon, Nadal decided to withdraw because of fatigue and further cleared his calendar by withdrawing from Tokyo Olympics 2021 as well.
"I can understand that the Games pose a physical risk, especially since the US Open is coming later. But I am disappointed that Rafael Nadal does not play at Wimbledon," the Swede said. "I suppose he will have a good reason because, otherwise, he would not have done it.
It is clear that the scarce two weeks between Roland Garros and Wimbledon have not helped if you consider Rafa's style of play." Mats Wilander believes it's a shame the three will not be jostling at Wimbledon to create more history this year.
"I would have liked to see the 'Big Three' (Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic) back fighting to continue making history," Wilander asserted. Over the course of the interview, Wilander also weighed in on Novak Djokovic's supremely successful season.
"Of course, Novak can do it (win the Golden Slam), but it remains to be seen with what energy he will arrive in New York if he wins everything first," Wilander said. "He wants to show that he is a superman and, in fact, he is. He needs to continue playing games to maintain maximum intensity."