LONDON – Spanish world No. 1 Rafael Nadal said on Wednesday he needed to rest after a busy clay-court season and would skip the Queen’s Club Championships, a Wimbledon tune-up event.
The 32-year-old Spaniard, who captured his 11th French Open title on Sunday, has had trouble in recent years making the transition to grass and says that low-bouncing surface puts a strain on his knees.
It remains to be seen if he will play an exhibition match on grass prior to the start of Wimbledon, a tournament he won in 2008 and 2010.
“Queen’s is a great event, I have happy memories of winning the title in 2008 ... 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,” Nadal said in statement provided to the media by tournament organizers.
Nadal last played Queen’s in 2015, losing his opening match to Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov.
Despite the Spaniard’s absence, that tournament got a boost this week when former world No. 1 and three-time Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic accepted a late wildcard.
The Serbian joins a field that includes Scotland’s Andy Murray, a two-time Wimbledon champion who is returning to action after hip surgery and has not played since losing in the quarterfinals of last year’s edition of tennis’ grass-court Grand Slam.
Grigor Dimitrov, Marin Cilic, Juan Martin del Potro and Feliciano Lopez also are in the draw at Queen’s.
Wimbledon gets under way on July 2.