As many expected, Rafael Nadal was forced to withdraw from Wimbledon as he continues to recover from his wrist injury.
Via a statement on Facebook, Nadal said in part, “As you can all imagine, it’s a very tough decision, but the injury I suffered at Roland Garros needs time to heal.”
Suffered in Madrid, the wrist problem required him to abandon his bid for a 10th French Open title mid-tournament. After originally being able to play in Rome with anti-inflammatories, the injury got worse by the day in Paris, to the point where he won his second round match with an injection that numbed the wrist.
Had he continued to play, serious damage would have been inevitable and surgery would have become a necessity, according to his doctors. The expected timetable for recovery was about a month, so there just wasn’t enough time for the sheath around the tendon to heal in time for grass season:
Nadal : two more weeks in cast then anti inflammatory rehabilitation and physiotherapy based treatment.
— Carole Bouchard (@carole_bouchard) June 9, 2016
Nadal, who turned 30 last week, had already pulled out of the grass warm-up tournament in Queen’s, where he won the title in 2008.
The two-time Wimbledon champion and five-time finalist will miss the sport’s most prestigious tournament for the first time since 2009, when knee problems prevented him from defending his first title there. This time around, Nadal was not considered a strong contender and his absence won’t dent his ranking, as he’ll only be dropping 45 points.
In fact, despite the injury, he moved back into the top four of the rankings this week due to Stan Wawrinka dropping the points from his 2015 Roland Garros title, and he could move back to No. 3 before the U.S. Open depending on his recovery, as well as Roger Federer’s results.
Nadal missing Wimbledon is even less of a surprise because of how much he values the Olympics. The 2008 gold medalist will, if able, get to be Spain’s flagbearer in Rio, an honor that was bestowed upon him for London in 2012 before more knee problems prevented him from participating.