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Nadal withdraws from Halle event to rest for Wimbledon

Associated Press

6/8/2013 11:27:50 AM

HALLE, Germany -- Rafael Nadal pulled out of the Gerry Weber Open on Saturday to rest ahead of Wimbledon.

Nadal said the grueling physical demands of recent weeks, including the French Open, led to his decision to withdraw from the grass-court event.

The 11-time Grand Slam winner plays fellow Spaniard David Ferrer in Sunday's French Open final, after coming through a ferocious five-set encounter with top-ranked Novak Djokovic in Friday's semifinal.

"After these past months and all the matches I have been able to play my doctors have recommended to rest after Roland Garros," said Nadal, whose place will be taken by wildcard Mischa Zverev of Germany.

Nadal's withdrawal leaves Roger Federer as the favourite to win his sixth title at the Halle tournament, which begins Monday.

Nadal said he would begin grass-court preparations a few days after his eighth French Open final.

"We all know the transition is not easy and after these past months I have to approach this in a different way," the 27-year-old Nadal said.

Nadal played in Halle last year despite suffering knee problems. He was knocked out in the last-16 by beaten finalist Philipp Kohlschreiber and was eventually forced to take a long injury lay-off after Wimbledon.

"It is a shame and regrettable that Rafael cannot come, but I can understand his decision," said tournament director Ralf Weber. "I know that it was not an easy one to take, but the player's health comes first."