Thursday, 17 June 2021 17:11

Staff Reporter.

World number three Rafael Nadal has pulled out of this month's Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion, who won the Wimbledon titles in 2008 and 2010, says he needs to "recuperate after a long clay-court season".

"It's never an easy decision but after listening to my body and discussing it with my team I understand that it is the right decision," said the Spaniard.

"The goal is to prolong my career and continue to do what makes me happy."

The 35-year-old added: "That is to compete at the highest level and keep fighting for those professional and personal goals at the maximum level of competition."

Nadal hinted at the decision after his defeat by Novak Djokovic in the French Open semi-finals last week.

If defending champion Djokovic wins the title at the All England Club, it will move him level with the record shared by Nadal and Switzerland's Roger Federer of 20 men's major singles titles.

Nadal said the shorter turnaround between the French Open and Wimbledon - which starts at the All England Club on 28 June - was a key factor in his decision.

This year, there are only two weeks between the French Open finishing on the clay and Wimbledon starting on the grass. Usually, there are three weeks between the two majors.

The French Open was pushed back a week by Roland Garros organisers in order to start the tournament with fewer of the country's coronavirus restrictions in place - including allowing fans in to watch.

"The fact that there has only been two weeks between Roland Garros and Wimbledon didn't make it easier on my body to recuperate after the always demanding clay-court season," Nadal said in a Twitter post announcing the news.

"They have been two months of great effort and the decision I take is focused looking at the mid and long term."

Nadal struggled with a back injury earlier this year, playing only the Australian Open - where he lost in the quarter-finals - before the clay-court season started in mid-April.