Injured Nadal withdraws from Wimbledon
LONDON: Defending champion Rafael Nadal withdrew from Wimbledon on Friday after losing his battle to fully recover from a knee injury in time for the third Grand Slam of the year, which starts on Monday.
"To not play Wimbledon is one of the toughest decisions of my career," said the Spaniard at a hastily-arranged news conference at the All England Club.
"I have some time now to recover and will work very hard to return as soon as possible."
Nadal, the world number one, was forced to miss Queen''s last week as a result of the problem, but the Spaniard flew to London this week after intense rehabilitation in Barcelona in a desperate bid prove his fitness for Wimbledon.
The Spaniard, winner of a thrilling five-set final against Roger Federer at Wimbledon last year, hoped that he would perform well enough in two exhibition matches at London''s Hurlingham Club on Thursday and Friday to give him hope he could defend his crown.
But he struggled badly in Thursday''s defeat against Lleyton Hewitt and, although he moved around court a litte better, he suffered another loss to Switzerland''s Stanislas Wawrinka 24 hours later.
The 23-year-old has been bothered by the tendinitis problem for several years, a legacy of his all-action style and his devotion to clay courts.
He was well below his best at the French Open where he suffered his first defeat, crashing out in the fourth round to Robin Soderling, and has finally decided to rest rather than risk further long-term damage.