For many years, the sight of Rafael Nadal going through his first paces on grass at Queen’s Club the day after winning the French Open title was an annual rite of passage.
That won’t happen this year.
The 10-time French Open champion is taking a pass on the tournament, which takes place next week.
Here’s the official quote from the tournament’s press release:
“Very sorry to say that I am not going to be able play Queen’s next week. I am sad to make this decision because I love Queen’s; I won the tournament in 2008 and every time I reached the Wimbledon final it was after playing Queen’s. I was hoping to take some days off and then be ready, but at 31, and after a long clay court season with all of the emotions of Roland Garros, and after speaking to my team and doctor, I have decided my body needs to rest if I am going to be ready to play Wimbledon. Sorry to all the great fans in Britain and to the tournament organizers. Hope to see you at Queen’s next year.”
It’s a very smart move for Nadal, who would seem to have as good a chance as anyone to win Wimbledon and do the double, as he did in both 2008 and 2010 after not dropping a set in his run to the French Open title.
But it’s a shame for the tournament, although it does still have a stellar field.
Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Grigor Dimitrov, Juan Martin del Potro, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and 2016 finalist Milos Raonic remain in the field. They’ll be fine.
Diego Schwartzman also has pulled out of the tournament, which allows Brit Kyle Edmund to get direct entry.
Edmund had been given a wild card. Hmmmm, that means there’s a wild card out there for the taking.
Nole, are you game?