The new world number two Rafael Nadal has announced that he will not be participating at the Aegon Championships at the Queen's Club. The Spaniard won the title in 2008 defeating Novak Djokovic in the final, en route to claiming his first Wimbledon title, a few weeks later, defeating his rival Roger Federer in one of the greatest tennis matches of all time. Nadal has played plenty of tennis during the entire clay court season in the past couple of months, which saw him claim ten titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and most importantly winning "La Decima" at the French Open on Sunday, defeating 2015 winner Stan Wawrinka in straight sets with a loss of just six games. Nadal also won a fifth title at the Mutua Madrid Open in May.
Nadal released a statement and he apologized about having to withdraw from the prestigious warm-up grass court event leading up to Wimbledon but it was the right decision for the former world number one who has troublesome knees on grass. "I am very sorry to say that I am not going to be able (to) play Queen's next week. I am sad to make this decision because I love Queen's. I won the tournament in 2008 and every time I reached the Wimbledon final it was after playing Queen's.
"I was hoping to take some days off and then be ready, but at 31, and after a long clay court season with all of the emotions of Roland Garros, and after speaking to my team and doctor, I have decided my body needs rest if I am going to be ready to play Wimbledon. Sorry to all of the great fans in Britain and to the tournament organizers, I hope to see you at Queen's next year."
It is a slight blow to the tournament but the field is led by world number one Andy Murray, who is the defending champion and has won Queen's on five occasions. Murray is returning to good form as he reached the semifinals at the French Open, narrowly missing out on attaining back-to-back finals after losing to Wawrinka in a five-set thriller. The beaten finalist at Roland Garros and the current US Open champion Stan Wawrinka is amongst the field.
Milos Raonic, who reached the final at Queen's and Wimbledon last year losing to Murray in both finals is a strong contender for the title of Queen's. Other big names involved include 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro, 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic, who won Queen's in 2012 and reached the final the following year. Nick Kyrgios, Tomas Berdych, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are amongst a strong field of players, who have grass court pedigree.