Rafael Nadal’s Wimbledon withdrawal may be a sign of what is to come

Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon

It was a decision many dreaded and most expected, with Rafael Nadal’s move to take a break from the game evidence that his body may be reaching the final few laps.

After his brutal battle against Novak Djokovic in the French Open semi-final last Friday, the prospect of Nadal playing at Wimbledon seemed forlorn as he limped away from Paris with just two weeks to prepare to play on his least favourite surface.

He may have won Wimbledon twice, but Nadal’s knees have not responded well to the transition from clay courts to grass courts in recent years, with two semi-final appearances the best he has managed since an appearance in the 2011 Wimbledon final.

If Nadal didn’t feel he could win Wimbledon, he was always likely to withdraw and the news came through on Thursday that he has done just that.

Nadal’s absence from Wimbledon will be felt, yet this may well tell a story of what is to come for the game’s enduring icons.

At the age of 39, Roger Federer is showing signs that his career is rapidly edging towards a conclusion as he struggles to find his form after a lengthy injury lay-off.

Meanwhile, Andy Murray has not entered any tournaments after his planned appearance at Wimbledon, with Nadal unlikely to return until the US Open swing of the ATP Tour in late summer.

It leaves Novak Djokovic reigning supreme as the world No 1, with the chance to clean up the Grand Slam scene for the next few years and comfortably overtake Federer and Nadal as the player who has claimed the most major titles in the game.

Tennis has been pondering what happens when Federer, Nadal and Murray make their exit from the game and with each passing week, that moment edges ever closer.

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