Tennis fans have been served some surprising news.
On Thursday, June 17, Rafael Nadal revealed to his fans that he has decided not to participate at this year's championships at Wimbledon or the Tokyo Olympic Games.
"It's never an easy decision to take, but after listening to my body and discuss it with my team I understand that it is the right decision," he explained to his 15.5 million followers on Twitter. "The goal is to prolong my career and continue to do what makes me happy, that is to compete at the highest level and keep fighting for those professional and personal goals at the maximum level of competition."
According to the 35-year-old athlete, another factor that went into his decision was the simple fact that there were only two weeks between the French Open and Wimbledon. The short time span "didn't make it easier on my body to recuperate," he said.
"They have been two months of great effort and the decision I take is focused looking at the mid and long term," Rafael explained. "Sport prevention of any kind of excess in my body is a very important factor at this stage of my career in order to try to keep fighting for the highest level of competition and titles."
Rafael's decision to not compete at the Olympics comes after he won the gold medal in singles at the 2008 Beijing Games and in doubles at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.
In his announcement, Rafael explained just how much he loves competing at the Olympics.
"I want to send a special message to my fans around the world, to those in the United Kingdom and Japan in particular," he shared. "The Olympic Games always meant a lot and they were always a priority as a Sports person, I found the spirit that every sports person in the world wants to live. I personally had the chance to live 3 of them and had the honor to be the flag bearer for my country."
Soon after his message, Rafael received support online from the U.S. Open, Australian Open and the Olympics. "We'll miss that smile in Tokyo, legend!" the Olympics Twitter account wrote. "We can't wait to see you on the court when you're back!"
Recently, Rafael won two titles, in Barcelona and in Rome, and had a 23-4 record so far this year.