Rafael Nadal and Naomi Osaka sit at Wimbledon, leaving the oldest Grand Slam tennis tournament without two of the sport’s biggest stars as he returns after being called off last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Two-time All England Club champion Nadal announced Thursday via a series of social media posts that he would also miss the Tokyo Olympics to rest and recover “after listening to my body.”
“The goal,” said the 35-year-old Spaniard, “is to extend my career and keep doing what makes me happy.”
Osaka agent Stuart Duguid said in an email on Thursday that the four-time Grand Slam champion is planning to go to the Summer Games after jumping Wimbledon.
âShe takes time with her friends and family,â Duguid wrote. “She will be ready for the Olympics and is excited to play in front of her home fans.”
Osaka is a 23 year old young woman born in Japan to a Japanese mother and a Haitian father; the family moved to the United States when she was 3 and is still based there.
Osaka was ranked # 1 and is currently # 2; She is the highest paid female athlete and was the 2020 AP Female Athlete of the Year. She is 14-3 this season, including an Australian Open title in February.
Last month, Osaka was fined $ 15,000 for not speaking to reporters after her first round victory at Roland Garros. The next day, Osaka withdrew from the tournament altogether, saying she felt “huge waves of anxiety” before meeting the media and revealing that she had “suffered from long periods of depression”.
In a statement posted on Twitter at the time, she said she would “take some time away from the pitch now, but when the time is right I really want to work with the Tour to discuss ways to improve things to players, press and fans.
Osaka has played at Wimbledon three times, coming out twice in the third round and losing in the first round in 2019.
Another Grand Slam title winner, 2020 US Open champion Dominic Thiem tweeted on Thursday that he would not be going to the Olympics, saying: “I don’t feel ready to play my best at Tokyo. “
Wimbledon, which was canceled in 2020 for the first time since World War II due to COVID-19 concerns, begins the main draw on June 28. The Olympic tennis competition opens on July 24.
Nadal lost to Novak Djokovic in grueling four sets that lasted more than four hours in the Roland Garros semi-finals last week – just Nadal’s third loss in 108 career games at Roland Garros, where he won a record of 13 championships.
The loss ended Nadal’s 35-game winning streak in the major clay court and his candidacy for a fifth straight title there.
Nadal is tied with Roger Federer for most Grand Slam titles won by a man with 20; Djokovic won the French Open on Sunday for his 19th major.
Nadal’s Slam total includes trophies at Wimbledon in 2008 and 2010. He also holds two Olympic gold medals, in singles at the Beijing Games in 2008 and in doubles with Marc Lopez at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, where Nadal was Spain’s flag bearer at the opening. ceremony.
In 2012, Nadal withdrew from the London Olympics and the US Open due to tendonitis in his knee.
Nadal said he only has two weeks between the end of Roland Garros and the start of Wimbledon this year – normally there are three, but the game in Paris has been delayed for a week due to COVID concerns – 19 – âdid not make things easierâ for him to recover from the âalways demandingâ season on clay.
After the loss to Djokovic at Roland Garros, Nadal stressed that fatigue was a problem for him in the latter stages of this match.
On Thursday he explained in one of his tweets that avoiding “any kind of excess” wear and tear on your body “is a very important factor at this point in my career in order to try and keep fighting for it. the highest level of competition and titles. “
A former No.1 and currently No.3 player, Nadal is 23-4 with two titles this season in Barcelona and Rome, both on clay.
___ AP Sports Writer Tales Azzoni contributed to this report.