With an achy knee, Rafael Nadal figured he wouldn’t stand a chance, so he withdrew from the Grand Slam Wimbledon Tournament, three days before it even began.>
In 35 years, he was only the second man to decline defending a Wimbledon title.
“When I start a tournament like Wimbledon, it is to try to win,” the top-ranked Nadal uttered, “and my feeling right now is I’m not ready to play to win.”
At a news conference on England club Friday evening, Nadal announced in a toned down voice his withdrawal, just 2 ½ hours after 18th ranked Stanislas Wawrinka defeated him at Hurlinglam Club in an exhibition match.
Nadal, who was also defeated by 2002 Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt on Thursday, said “Today was the last test. I didn’t feel terrible but not close to my best”. “I’m just not 100 percent. I’m better than I was a couple of weeks ago, but I just don’t feel ready.”
He said that it is “one of the toughest decisions of my career,” and added “There’s no option. I don’t feel ready to compete 100 percent for two weeks.”
Since Goran Ivanisenic in 2002, Nadal is the first dominating Wimbledon men’s champion to abandon on the succeeding year’s tournament.