Rafa Nadal, celebrating victory at Roland Garros. | Reuters


Former champion Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the Aegon Championships at Queen’s Club after being advised to rest by his doctor as he sets his sights on the Wimbledon crown. However, he is going to use the Mallorca Open grass courts in Santa Ponsa to prepare for the tournament.

The 31-year-old Majorcan, who won a record 10th French Open on Sunday, said he had had a "long clay court season". "My body needs to rest if I am going to be ready to play Wimbledon," said world number two Nadal, Wimbledon champion in 2008 and 2010.

The Aegon Championships start on 19 June, and Wimbledon on 3 July. Nadal added: "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."

Britain’s Andy Murray, the world number one, will defend his title at the Aegon Championships, which will feature four of the world’s top 10 men. By winning his 10th French Open title and the 15th Major overall, Rafael Nadal simply provided another plot twist of his professional also sending a thrill throughout the ATP circuit. Having the Spaniard in a dominant position on the red clay while Roger Federer took the first hardcourt swing for himself provided us with a distorted-like sense of time.

Although we’re living in 2017, it seems like 2007. Clinching his first Grand Slam title in three years, Rafael Nadal opened new paths for the upcoming months. While Djokovic, Murray or Wawrinka will struggle to defend last year’s result, he and Federer will keep on digging deeper during the second part of the season.

Despite having some flaws during the first months of 2017, Rafael Nadal put everything on the right shelf. Playing injury-free has been of tremendous help, and now he can deliver the best tennis he can produce. After battling so hard during the clay court session, his schedule is now subject to some adjustments. It’s a natural course of things given the fact that he was a front-runner in Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome and French Open which are basically all big clay-court tournaments of the season.

Instead of playing a warm-up event prior to Wimbledon, the Majorcan is choosing the safer passage. Knowing his long history of injuries, it seems like the right approach.

As the gap separating Rafael Nadal from the first spot is closing fast, the tension is mounting at the top of the ATP ranking. For Andy Murray, the days at the top seem to have reached the end while Nadal is once again riding the wave. Murray must defend thousands of points over the next few months while Nadal’s only concern are about a small harvest from the US Open.