Nadal out of Wimbledon, Federer's path to No. 15 clears up

Chris Chase
June 19, 2009

So much for the rematch.

Due to tendinitis in his knees, Rafael Nadal won't be returning to the All-England club to defend his Wimbledon title nezt week.. The world No. 1 withdrew from the tournament this afternoon at a press conference in London. It goes without saying that this is a major blow for the most prestigious event on the tennis calendar.

Nadal's withdrawl can only help Roger Federer, whose path to a record-breaking 15th Grand Slam title is now demonstrably easier. But I'd imagine it's also a bit of a disappointment for him too. A win without Nadal in the field isn't tainted, but winning the tournament while avenging the five-set loss from last year's final was probably the best-case scenario for Federer.

It feels a bit like the air just got let of a balloon. There will still be plenty of intriguing story-lines at the All-England Club (Federer trying to best Sampras, Andy Murray playing with the hopes of Britain on his shoulders, world No. 1 Dinara Safina attempting to win her first Grand Slam), but the best one has been put on hold until next year.