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Page last updated at 18:19 GMT, Friday, 19 June 2009 19:19 UK

Champion Nadal out of Wimbledon

WIMBLEDON
Date: 22 June - 5 July
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I do not feel ready to compete - Nadal

World number one Rafael Nadal will not defend his Wimbledon men's singles crown because of a knee injury.

Nadal, struggling with tendinitis, tested out his fitness in exhibition matches on Thursday and Friday, but was unhappy with the state of his knee.

"Not to play Wimbledon is one of the toughest decisions in my career," said the 23-year-old Mallorcan.

In Nadal's absence, second seed Roger Federer will open play on Centre Court on Monday against Yen-Hsun Lu.

Nadal is the first champion not to defend his SW19 crown since Goran Ivanisevic missed the event in 2002.

"I've played with some problems in my knees for a few months but I always felt I'd try and try," added Nadal. "You don't know what your limit is, but I have now reached the limit."

Nadal and Murray practise together

But the world number one insisted the tendinitis was not career threatening.

"It's not a chronic problem, I can recover for sure," said Nadal. "I'm going to try very hard to come back and when I come back I'm going to come back with 100% mentality because when I play now, I was thinking more about the knee.

"I'm 23 and I hope to have a long career and come back next year - no one is more disappointed than me and the Wimbledon crowd must understand I tried my best."

Nadal, the four-time French Open champion, had been drawn to play Arnaud Clement at Wimbledon on Monday.

The Mallorcan was forced to withdraw from last week's tournament at Queen's Club with knee trouble and underwent intense rehabilitation in Barcelona.

He was diagnosed with tendinitis in both quadriceps tendons as well as a small amount of fluid on the kneecaps.

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The 23-year-old looked to be on the mend after practising with Andy Murray at the All England Club on Wednesday, but the following day the Spaniard seemed troubled throughout his 80-minute exhibition encounter with Lleyton Hewitt, losing in two sets to the Australian.

Nadal was determined not to concede defeat in his fight to be ready for Wimbledon and played a second exhibition match at Hurlingham against Stanislas Wawrinka on Friday.

But two hours after losing to Olympic doubles champion Wawrinka, Nadal made public his decision to pull out of Wimbledon.

"I didn't feel terrible but I was not at my best," said Nadal, referring to his fitness levels against Wawrinka.

Nadal, who beat Roger Federer in a classic final in 2008, had previously stated he would not defend his Wimbledon crown if he was not 100% fit.

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see also
Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis
Order of play
23 May 09 |  Tennis
Women's singles draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Murray to open against Kendrick
19 Jun 09 |  Tennis
Baghdatis pulls out of Wimbledon
19 Jun 09 |  Tennis
Henman on Murray
18 Jun 09 |  Tennis
Nadal and Murray practise together
18 Jun 09 |  Tennis
Nadal v Federer - The best final?
07 Jul 08 |  Tennis
Nadal stays calm after shock loss
31 May 09 |  Tennis
Champion Nadal falls to Soderling
31 May 09 |  Tennis


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