Rafael Nadal has announced he has pulled out of Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics.
After a bruising French Open campaign where he fell to Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals, Nadal on Thursday announced he is choosing to look after his body rather than endure the grass court season and an Olympics campaign.
The 35-year-old said in the statement he has not found the decision easy.
"Hi all, I have decided not to participate at this year's Championships at Wimbledon and the Olympic Games in Tokyo," he posted on Twitter.
"It's never an easy decision to take but after listening to my body and discuss it with my team I understand that it is the right decision.
"The goal is to prolong my career and continue to do what makes me happy, that is to compete at the highest level and keep fighting for those professional and personal goals at he maximum level of competition."
Nadal is yet to say when he intends to return to the ATP Tour with the US Open beginning at the end of August.
He said the decision from tournament organisers to delay the French Open — to allow more spectators to attend as part of the local Paris Covid-19 restrictions — directly resulted in his decision to take a break, citing the two-week turnaround between Roland Garros and Wimbledon as one of the reasons the decision was forced on him.
He had been chasing a record 14th Roland Garros crown and an unprecedented 21st grand slam title.
His withdrawal from Wimbledon further opens the door for Roger Federer to win a 21st slam, or for Djokovic to join them on 20 career grand slam victories. Wimbledon begins on June 28.
He admitted after his loss to Djokovic earlier this month that he was going to spend some time with his family before deciding on his immediate future.
"I am sad to have lost in the most important tournament of the year for me, but life goes on, it is nothing more than a defeat on a tennis court," he said.
"If everything goes well, tomorrow I will be at home with my family and friends, and then we will see what is next."
His statement on Thursday confirmed his body simply needs some rest — even at the expense of the Olympics, beginning July 23.
"The fact that there has only been 2 weeks between RG and Wimbledon, didn't make it easier on my body to recuperate after the always demanding clay court season," he said.
"They have been two months of great effort and the decision I take is focused looking at the mid and long term.
"Sport prevention of any kind of excess in my body is a very important factor at this stage of my career in order to try to keep fighting for the highest level of competition and titles. I want to send a special message to my fans around the world, to those in the United Kingdom and Japan in particular.
"The Olympic Games always meant a lot and they were always a priority as a Sports person, I found the spirit that every sports person in the world wants to live. I personally had the chance to live 3 of them and had the honor to be the flag bearer for my country."
Osaka takes time away from tennis
Naomi Osaka will not play at Wimbledon but is hoping to be back on court for the Tokyo Olympics.
The tennis star recently pulled out of the French Open after one match, citing mental health concerns, and her agent confirmed she will not be taking to the grass for the year's third grand slam.
"Naomi won't be playing Wimbledon this year," a statement read. "She is taking some personal time with friends and family. She will be ready for the Olympics and is excited to play in front of her home fans."
Osaka sparked a huge storm when she declared before her round one match at Roland Garros she would not be attending any press conferences because of the alleged lack of care shown for athletes' mental wellbeing.
She was widely criticised for taking that stance as some in the media accused her of lying while fellow players including Ash Barty distanced themselves from the four-time major winner, saying speaking to the press was part of the job that comes with playing professional tennis.
Osaka then quit the French Open, revealing she has suffered "long bouts of depression" since 2018 and gets "anxiety" when speaking to the world's media.
The 23-year-old said following her withdrawal she was taking some time out of the game, but wouldn't put a timeline on her return.
It now seems that comeback will be on the big stage of the Olympics, which start in just over a month's time.
Osaka's announcement she is skipping Wimbledon comes the day after All England Club chief executive Sally Bolton said she was hopeful the world's highest-paid female athlete would take part in the tournament, which gets underway on June 28.
"We've reached out to her team, we haven't spoken to Naomi herself," Bolton said on Thursday. "At this point in time she's entered into the championships and we haven't received confirmation that she won't compete."
Tournament director Jamie Baker said he had told Osaka's entourage the phone lines were always open to discuss any issues that might arise.
"I had the conversation with her team," said Baker. "It's absolutely clear that we're here, we're completely open for any discussions when they want to have that. Hopefully it goes without saying that we want the best players competing here no matter what."
Osaka was fined about $21,000 (NZD) and threatened with disqualification from Roland Garros after she refused to honour mandatory media commitments.
French Open organisers protested that they had treated her with "care and respect" after they were accused of being heavy-handed.
Osaka lost in the third round of Wimbledon in 2017 and 2018 and bowed out in the first round in 2019. Last year's tournament was cancelled due to coronavirus.