“Played Too Much Clay”: Former World No.1 Disappointed With Rafael Nadal’s Wimbledon Championships 2021 Withdrawal

Published 06/22/2021, 10:10 AM EDT
LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 27: Rafael Nadal of Spain takes a break because of an injury during his fourth round match against Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina on Day Seven of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 27, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)


20-time Grand Slam champion, Rafael Nadal announced his unfortunate withdrawal from Wimbledon Championships 2021 owing to fatigue. After a tough French Open 2021, the Spanish ace withdrew from the flagship grass-court event to ‘prolong’ his career. It is a decision that has seen many suitors and critics. Former World No.1 Mats Wilander gave his opinion on the matter.

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Rafael Nadal in action during his semi-final match against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

In a recent interview with Marca, Wilander was unhappy as Nadal had withdrawn from both Wimbledon Championships as well as the Tokyo Olympics 2021.

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“I can understand that the Games pose a physical risk, especially since the US Open is coming later. But I am disappointed that Rafa does not play at Wimbledon”

Mats Wilander on why Rafael Nadal withdrew from Wimbledon Championships 2021

Wilander pointed out that since French Open and Wimbledon were just two weeks apart, it might have been insufficient for Rafa to recover. It is to be noted that because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Roland Garros was postponed by one week and hence that saw Wimbledon 2021 being just two weeks from French Open.

“I suppose he will have a good reason for having been erased because, otherwise, he would not have done it. It is clear that the scarce two weeks between Roland Garros and Wimbledon have not helped if you consider Nadal’s style of play,” Mats Wilander said. (quotes have been translated)

Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts during his match. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Nadal played 22 matches in two months during the clay-court season. He followed an identical tournament schedule to 2019. However, in 2019 Nadal wasn’t troubled much before French, and he was two years younger. In 2021, Nadal won Barcelona Open and Italian Open after having played long and tough matches against the likes of Stefanos Tsitsipas, Denis Shapovalov, etc. Hence by the time Rafa reached French Open, he was fatigued and that caught him against Novak Djokovic in the semifinal.

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“I think he has played too much on clay, although it is what he usually does. I would have liked to see the ‘Big Three ‘back fighting to continue making history “.

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Now Nadal will next be seen on the hard courts. He is very much looking forward to the American swing with an eye on the final Grand Slam of the year, US Open 2021.

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Bhavishya Mittal

1226 articles

Bhavishya Mittal is a tennis author for EssentiallySports, who is currently pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Manipal University. A former sports editor for The Manipal Journal, Bhavishya has also worked for The New Indian Express. He has a keen eye for many sports but he is a particularly ardent follower of tennis, with a zest to create riveting articles on the ever-evolving sport.

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