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Rafael Nadal withdraws from Wimbledon and Tokyo 2020 in order to help 'prolong career'

Rafael Nadal pulls out of Wimbledon and Tokyo Olympic Games; "It's never an easy decision to take but after listening to my body I understand that it is the right decision," the 35-year-old said; Dominic Thiem also withdraws from Olympics, Milos Raonic from Wimbledon

Nadal in action against Italy's Jannik Sinner during their fourth round match. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
Image: Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from Wimbledon and Tokyo 2020

Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from both Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics.

The Wimbledon main draw is set to start on June 28, while the first round of the men's singles in Tokyo gets under way a month later on July 24.

Nadal lost his French Open semi-final to eventual winner Novak Djokovic last week, and the 35-year-old said the two-week gap between Roland Garros and Wimbledon "didn't make it easier on my body to recuperate after the always demanding clay court season".

The 20-time Grand Slam champion added on Twitter: "It's never an easy decision to take but after listening to my body and discuss it with my team I understand that it is the right decision.

"The goal is to prolong my career and continue to do what makes me happy, that is to compete at the highest level and keep fighting for those professional and personal goals at the maximum level of competition."

Nadal last won Wimbledon in 2010, two years after his first triumph at SW19 when he beat Roger Federer in an all-time classic final.

The Spaniard has also competed at three Olympic Games, appearing at Athens 2004 before winning singles gold at Beijing 2008 and doubles gold at Rio 2016 - he withdrew from London 2012 with injury.

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Rafael nadal won singles gold at Beijing 2008 (AP)
Image: Rafael Nadal won singles gold at Beijing 2008

WTA world number 2 Naomi Osaka also confirmed on Thursday that she will not play at Wimbledon this year, but will take part in the Tokyo Games.

Nadal added: "Sport prevention of any kind of excess in my body is a very important factor at this stage of my career in order to try to keep fighting for the highest level of competition and titles.

"I want to send a special message to my fans around the world, to those in the United Kingdom and Japan in particular.

"The Olympic Games always meant a lot and they were always a priority as a Sports person, I found the spirit that every sports person in the world wants to live. I personally had the chance to live three of them and had the honour to be the flag bearer for my country."

Thiem withdraws from Olympics

World No 5 Dominic Thiem has also confirmed he will not take part in the upcoming men's tournament at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

"After talking with my team and analysing the situation, I have taken the very difficult decision to withdraw from competing in the Tokyo Olympics," he wrote on Twitter.

"For me, like all athletes, taking part in the Olympics and representing my country is a huge honour and that makes this decision even tougher. However, 2021 did not start as expected and I don't feel ready to play my best in Tokyo.

"These last two weeks I have been training hard - and I'm starting to improve my conditioning and concentration little by little. My goal is to work hard the coming weeks, give my best at Wimbledon and keep training and hopefully defend my US Open title.

"I wish the entire Austrian team traveling to Tokyo all the best. I am young and I hope to be able to play for Austria at the Olympics in Paris 2024. See you all soon, Domi."

Raonic pulls out of Wimbledon

Milos Raonic is inspired by the example set by Tom Brady
Image: Milos Raonic will not compete at Wimbledon

Milos Raonic has withdrawn from Wimbledon following a setback in his recovery from a calf injury, the 2016 runner-up said.

The former world No 3 last competed in the Miami Open Masters 1000 tournament in March, where he was beaten by Hubert Hurkacz in the last 16, before missing the entire claycourt season, including the French Open.

"I wanted to share that I am incredibly sad and hurt that I won't be ready to compete at Wimbledon this year," world No 18 Raonic said in an Instagram post late on Saturday.

Raonic said that he was targeting a return to action at the grasscourt major but was unable to fully shake off the problem in time.

"I have been working hard to heal it but had a minor setback," Raonic said.

"Therefore I won't be ready for Wimbledon. I will be working hard to get back as soon as possible."

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