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

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.

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