Missing Wimbledon was ‘the right thing to do’, says Rafael Nadal as he prepares for Washington debut

Rafael Nadal at practise

Missing Grand Slams are never easy, but Rafael Nadal believes he made the “right decision” to skip Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics.

On the back of a gruelling two-month clay-court swing that ended in defeat at the hands of Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals at Roland Garros, Nadal decided not withdraw from Wimbledon and the Tokyo Games.

The Spaniard revealed that he took the difficult decision as “the goal is to prolong my career and continue to do what makes me happy”.

With the Olympics done and dusted, attention switches to the North American hard-court swing and Nadal opted to accept a wildcard for the ATP 500 Citi Open.

“Playing in Washington allows me to be on the Tour one week before than what I do usually for this part of the season,” he said.

“But missing Wimbledon, I think that’s the right thing to do. The decision I think is the right one. Super happy to be here. [The] tournament organisation is doing amazing.”

The 35-year-old will open his Citi campaign against Jack Sock on Wednesday after the American wildcard advanced when Yoshihito Nishioka retired midway through the second set.

Nadal, though, is enjoying his time in Washington.

“I love to be here in Washington because it’s not only a new event for me, it’s a new city. I am able to visit one of the most important cities in the world. And honestly, it’s a very beautiful city,” he said.

“I have been able to walk around a little bit the past couple of days. I am very impressed. I hope to have a chance to visit a little bit more [of] the city during the next couple of days.

“But what I saw [was] so beautiful. [It is] a very green city, [it has] lower buildings than most of the big American cities. I am enjoying the city, I’m enjoying the people. [I am] having fun.”