Rafael Nadal has announced he will not play again in 2016, citing continuing pain from a wrist injury that caused him to withdraw from the French Open and miss this year’s Wimbledon. Nadal returned from the injury to compete for Spain at the Olympics, losing out in the bronze-medal match to Kei Nishikori but winning gold in the men’s doubles with good friend Marc Lopez.
However, the 14-time Grand Slam champion has struggled since then. After being eliminated from the U.S. Open in a dramatic fourth-round encounter with Frenchman Lucas Pouille, Nadal suffered disappointing results during two events in China this month. At the Shanghai Masters 1000 tournament last week, the Spaniard was beaten in straight sets in his first match by Viktor Troicki.
And he now admits that his desperation to get back playing at the Olympics has led to further problems.
“It is no secret that I arrived to the Olympic Games short of preparation and not fully recovered, but the goal was to compete and win a medal for Spain,” he said in a statement posted on his Facebook account on Thursday. “This forced recovery has caused me pain since then and now I am forced to stop and start preparing the 2017 season.
“I am very saddened for not being able to play next week in Basel since I have a great memory of the tournament and the final played against Roger Federer last year. I won’t be able to compete either in Paris-Bercy, where the crowds and the FFT staff have always treated me so well. Now it is time to rest and start preparing intensively the 2017 season.”
Nadal, who has seen his ranking drop to sixth and is currently seventh in the race based on his results this year, was locked in a battle to make it to the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London. Instead, he will miss out on the prestigious event through injury for the third time in five years.
He will now hope to use the next two months to return to peak form and fitness before he is scheduled to begin his 2017 season at the Brisbane International event, which gets underway on Jan. 1.