Crocked Nadal pulls out of Queen’s
Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:34
It has not been what you’d call a vintage week for Rafael Nadal. It began with the seemingly earth-shattering defeat at Roland Garros on Sunday, and now he has announced he will not be defending his title at AEGON Championships next week.
“I am very disappointed to not be able to come this year to Queens, defend the title I won last year and enjoy playing there in front of the very knowledgeable British crowds, said Nadal, who will complete a hat-trick of disappointments when he officially relinquishes his French Open crown on Sunday.
To play in London has always been special for me, to play at The Queen’s Club is an honour and the fans in the UK are among the best I have ever seen, always supporting me since the first time I played there.”
“I have been having some problems in the past months with my knees, that’s no secret” – Nadal
“I have been having some problems in the past months with my knees, that’s no secret, that did not allow me to compete always at 100%,” the Spaniard explained. “I need to work with my team to recover well, work on my physical condition to be at my top form and get ready for the grass to play at Wimbledon. I hope I can be ready to compete by then.
“I am really sorry and I hope that the people at the tournament will still want me to come next year.”
The Spaniard has been a huge hit at The Queens Club over the past three years, on each occasion arriving at the tournament the day after winning the French Open. Last year, he went down in Queen’s Club history as the first man to complete a much more welcome hat-trick – winning the Roland Garros, Artois Championships, and Wimbledon titles.
Chris Kermode, Tournament Director of the rebranded AEGON Championships, admitted that it is obviously disappointing for everyone that Rafa has had to withdraw from the AEGON Championships, as he has been a huge favourite with the crowds at The Queens Club over the past three years.
“No-one is more disappointed than Rafa himself,” Kermode added. “He called me personally to tell me the news and how sorry he was, particularly as he loves playing in front of British tennis fans, but his health must come first. We wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to welcoming him back to the AEGON Championships in the future.
World No.3 Andy Murray will now be installed as the top-ranked player heading to west London, although the level of competition remains tough with three former world No.1s in Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt and Marat Safin. James Blake, Marin Cilic and Gilles Simon are also among the field.