Rafael Nadal says playing Wimbledon is ‘not a good idea’ as he looks to prioritize Paris Olympics

Rafael Nadal has cast further doubt on his participation at Wimbledon this year, saying it is “not a good idea” as he looks to prioritize the Summer Olympics on the Roland Garros clay.

The 22-time grand slam champion was eliminated in the first round of the French Open by Alexander Zverev on Monday and said Paris 2024 is now the “main goal” for the summer.

The transition from clay to grass is the most difficult surface change on the tennis calendar. Wimbledon gets underway on July 1, with the Olympic tennis tournament starting less than a month later on July 27.

“It looks difficult,” Nadal, who won singles gold at Beijing 2008, said of his Wimbledon prospects. “Honestly, I can’t confirm what’s going on, but for me, now it looks difficult to make the transition to grass, having the Olympics again on clay.

“So I cannot confirm anything, I need to talk with the team, I need to analyze so many facts, but I don’t think it’s going to be smart after all the things that happened to my body to now make a big transition to a completely different surface and then come back immediately to clay.

“Today, I feel that’s not a good idea. I can’t confirm, but my feeling is, even if I am booked in Wimbledon because I had to, I don’t think it’s a positive idea right now.”

Nadal is also set to play in the doubles at Paris 2024 with Carlos Alcaraz.

The 37-year-old has struggled with injury since the 2023 Australian Open and was forced to miss the vast majority of last season as he tried to get his body ready for one last year on tour.

After previously announcing that 2024 would likely be his last year in professional tennis, Nadal opened the door to a possible return in 2025 after his defeat to Zverev, saying he is “not 100% sure” the loss was his final appearance at Roland Garros.

But given his injury struggles over the last 18 months, Nadal admitted that, even if prioritizes being fit for the Olympics, there is no guarantee he will be.

“I cannot tell you if I will be or won’t be in one month and a half,” Nadal said. “My body has been a jungle for two years and you don’t know what to expect. I wake up one day and I found a snake biting me; another day, a tiger.

Nadal won singles gold at Beijing 2008. - Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images
Nadal won singles gold at Beijing 2008. - Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images

“It’s been a big fight with all of the things I went through, but the dynamic is positive the last few weeks. I felt ready. I think tomorrow I will be ready to play again if I had to – but I will not have to,” he laughed. “I need to clear my ideas now and see what the new calendar is for me to be ready for the Olympics.

“I can’t say anything today, but my main goal now is to play the Olympics that are going to be here, so I need to prepare myself the proper way: to try to arrive here healthy and well prepared – and then let’s see.”

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