It used to be that the iconic photo during the first week of the grass-court season, was Rafael Nadal going almost directly from the winner’s circle in Paris to the practice courts of Queen’s Club in London.
But the 11-time French Open champion is 32 now, and his body has spoken.
Nadal will pass on playing the Queen’s Club tournament. And barring a last-minute entry into Eastbourne, he will head to Wimbledon without having played a tuneup event.
“Queen’s is a great event, I have happy memories of winning the title in 2008 and I wanted to come back this year,” said Nadal, in a statement released by the tournament. “But it has been a very long clay court season for me with great results. I would like to say sorry to the tournament organizers and most of all to the fans that were hoping to see me play, but I have spoken to my doctors and I need to listen to what my body is telling me.”
Still a stellar field
The entry list, even without Nadal, remains stellar – especially with the addition of Novak Djokovic this week.
The next question mark will be whether home-country hero Andy Murray will play.
Murray has not played a competitive match since losing in the Wimbledon quarterfinals last July, He had hip surgery during the Australian Open in January.
And the Scot pulled out of planned participation in a grass-court tournament this week in the Netherlands.
As well, Diego Schwartzman of Argentina has also pulled out of Queen’s, with an abdominal injury.
In other news, American John Isner has withdrawn from a competing event in Halle, Germany.