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Injured Rafael Nadal is forced to nurse his Wimbledon pain

BY Eleanor Crooks

Rafael Nadal will not play at Wimbledon because of the wrist injury that forced him out of the French Open.

The 14-time grand slam champion initially felt pain in his left wrist at the Madrid Open last month but it worsened at Roland Garros and he withdrew ahead of his third-round match.

Nadal was initially positive about his chances of playing at Wimbledon but his withdrawal comes as no surprise.

A statement from his agent Benito Perez-Barbadillo read: "Rafa Nadal announces today that he won't be taking part at this year's Championships at Wimbledon due to the injury he suffered on his left wrist during this year's Roland Garros event that forced him to withdraw after his second round match.

"His left wrist will continue (to be) immobilised for a maximum of two weeks. After that the player will start an anti-inflammatory rehabilitation and physiotherapy-based treatment once the cast is removed."

Nadal had hoped his wrist would need to be immobilised for only two weeks and that the injury would have cleared up in four weeks, giving him a chance of playing Wimbledon.

He wrote on his Facebook page: "I'm sad to announce that, after talking to my doctors and receiving the results of my last medical revision, I won't be able to play at Wimbledon this year.

"As you can all imagine, it's a very tough decision, but the injury I suffered at Roland Garros needs time to heal."

Despite his public stance, it would have been a surprise had Nadal been prepared to rush back for Wimbledon given his recent record.

The champion in 2008 and 2010, Nadal has failed to go beyond the fourth round in the last four years, losing to Lukas Rosol, Steve Darcis, Nick Kyrgios and Dustin Brown.

Meanwhile, Maria Sharapova's two-year drugs ban has sent a "powerful message" to drug cheats, according to former Great Britain Fed Cup captain Judy Murray.

The five-time Grand Slam winner has been banned by the International Tennis Federation for using a prohibited drug.

Murray said that Sharapova's punishment made it clear "that there's not going to be any hiding place for drug cheats".

Roger Federer said he supported a "zero tolerance" stance against doping.

Sharapova (29) was provisionally banned in March after testing positive for the heart disease drug meldonium - which became a banned substance on January 1, 2016 - at this year's Australian Open.

Federer added: "It doesn't matter if they did it on purpose or not, I don't really see the difference.

"You need to know what goes into your body, you have to be 100% sure of what's going on. If you're not, you're gong to be damned. Of course she's got the right to fight the case, like everybody else as well. I'm just for zero tolerance."

Sharapova has said she would appeal against the "unfairly harsh" ban.

Belfast Telegraph


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