x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Champion Nadal out of Wimbledon

The world No 1 Rafael Nadal pulls out of the grand slam event after losing his battle to recover from a knee injury.

Rafael Nadal takes a break during his exhibition game at the Hurlingham exhibition tournament.
Rafael Nadal takes a break during his exhibition game at the Hurlingham exhibition tournament.

Rafael Nadal, the Wimbledon champion, has withdrawn from this year's Championships which begin on Monday because of a recurring knee injury. The Spaniard, ranked No 1 in the world, is the first champion not to defend his title at the All England Club since Goran Ivanisevic failed to appear seven years ago after skipping the event in 2002. Nadal, 23, has tendinitis in both quadriceps tendons as well as a small amount of fluid on the kneecaps. "Unfortunately this year I won't be able to play at Wimbledon," he told a news conference. "I'm just not 100 per cent. I'm better than I was a couple of weeks ago but I just don't feel ready." The problem, which struck him at the end of last year, preventing him from playing in the end-of-season ATP Tour championships and the Davis Cup final against Argentina, contributed to his shock defeat in the recent French Open which he had won for the last four years. Nadal tried desperately to rectify the problem in time to open his Wimbledon defence but two exhibition matches at Hurlingham over the last two days convinced him that to appear would be too much of a risk. "I think I reached the limit right now. I need to reset to come back stronger," Nadal said. Asked what sort of threat the knee problems might present to his career, he said: "It's not chronic. I can recover for sure."

wjohnson@thenational.ae *Agencies