Rafael Nadal to miss Wimbledon after teaming up with Carlos Alcaraz for Olympics

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Rafael Nadal is set to miss Wimbledon to prepare for the Olympic Games, where he will team up with Carlos Alcaraz in a dream doubles partnership.

The expected news was confirmed by Spain’s Olympic team captain, David Ferrer, on Wednesday, with Nadal having said last month that it would not be good for his body to switch surfaces from clay to grass.

With Nadal expected to retire at some point this year, it appears his final match at Wimbledon will be a quarter-final win over Taylor Fritz in 2022, following which he withdrew from the tournament because of an abdominal injury.

Alcaraz, who will make his Olympic debut, said last summer it would be a dream to play with Nadal in what is likely to be one of the final events of his career.
The 38-year-old made the French Open and Olympics his priorities after returning from a year out with hip problems.

He lost in the first round of the singles at Roland Garros last month to eventual finalist Alexander Zverev but will have another chance on the Parisian clay, with the Olympic tennis being held at the same venue.

As well as winning the French Open 14 times, Nadal also has two Olympic gold medals to his name, in singles in Beijing in 2008 and in doubles with Marc Lopez in Rio eight years ago. The pair have never played together in a match before, while Alcaraz is very inexperienced in doubles, but they are sure to be one of the biggest draws of the event.

Rafael Nadal on his way to winning a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008View image in fullscreen

Alcaraz will go into the singles tournament as arguably the favourite for gold having just won his third grand slam title at Roland Garros.

“One pair, which I think everyone knows and was hoping for is Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal and the second pair is yet to be decided, it hasn’t been 100% confirmed yet,” Ferrer said. “We’ll wait a bit before announcing that. But Rafa and Carlos will be playing together in Paris.”

The other players selected are Pablo Carreno Busta and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina while Marcel Granollers, who is ranked world No 2 in doubles, is also in the squad. The Paris Olympics run from 26 July until 11 August.

Meanwhile Andy Murray may opt out of challenging for a third Olympic gold medal at the Paris Games if he is not selected to play in the doubles tournament.

The three-times grand slam winner and twice Olympic champion is eligible to compete in the singles at the Games with two places reserved for players who have previously won a grand slam or Olympics tournament.

However, Murray could miss out on the doubles at Paris with Britain set to send Joe Salisbury and Neal Skupski instead. “I need to see what happens with the Olympics,” he told reporters after his 6-3, 6-4 defeat to Marcos Giron at the Stuttgart Open on Tuesday.

“I’m not 100% sure what the situation is there with the doubles yet and whether or not I will play if I just get in the singles. I don’t know. My body didn’t feel great playing on the clay in the last month or so. I had quite a few issues with my back, so I don’t know if I would go just for singles.

“I need to wait a little bit and see on that,” added the 37-year-old, who lost in the first round of the French Open doubles alongside Daniel Evans.

The tennis tournament at the Olympics will take place at Roland Garros from 27 July to 4 August.

Source: theguardian.com

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