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Old 06-19-2009, 07:13 PM
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Default Injured Nadal withdraws from Wimbledon 2009

Nadal, the world number one, was forced to miss Queen's last week as a result of the problem, but the Spaniard flew to London this week in a desperate bid prove his fitness for the All England Club tournament.

The Spaniard, winner of a thrilling five-set final against Roger Federer at Wimbledon last year, hoped that he would perform well enough in two exhibition matches at London's Hurlingham Club on Thursday and Friday to give him hope he could defend his crown.

But he struggled badly in Thursday's defeat against Lleyton Hewitt and, although he moved around court a little better, he suffered another loss to Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka 24 hours later.

The 23-year-old has been bothered by the problem for several years, a legacy of his all-action style and his love of clay courts.

He was well below his best at the French Open, crashing out in the fourth round to Robin Soderling, and has finally decided to rest rather than risk further long-term damage.

Nadal will be the first champion not to defend his Wimbledon title since Goran Ivanisevic, who retired in 2002, a year after beating Patrick Rafter. John Newcombe and Stan Smith also didn't defend the title in the modern era.

With Nadal sidelined, Federer, the second seed and French Open champion, will be a clear favourite to regain the title he won for the fifth time in 2007.

Nadal, who has tendinitis and fluid on the kneecaps, had been handed a first round tie against France's Arnaud Clement in Friday's draw, with a potential second round clash against Australia's Lleyton Hewitt and a semi-final showdown with world number three Andy Murray.

Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro, the fifth seed, moves into the slot in the draw vacated by Nadal.

Del Potro's place will be taken by the number 17 seed, David Ferrer. The 33rd player on the men's list will slide into Ferrer's position and a lucky loser from qualifying will fill the final slot.

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