London:Defending champion Rafael Nadal has been forced to withdraw from next week's Wimbledon warm-up tournament at Queen's after being told by doctors he needs to rest his knees.
"I am very disappointed to not be able to come this year to Queen's, defend the title I won last year and enjoy playing there in front of the very knowledgeable British crowds," the Spaniard said in a statement issued by the tournament organisers.
Nadal, who is recovering from the shock of a first ever defeat at the French Open, added: "I have been having some problems in the past months with my knees, that's no secret, that did not allow me to compete always at 100 per cent.
"I need to work with my team to recover well, work on my physical condition to be at my top form and get ready for the grass to play at Wimbledon. I hope I can be ready to compete by then. I am really sorry and I hope that the people at the tournament will still want me to come next year."
Nadal's victory at Queen's last year proved to be the perfect platform for an assault on the Wimbledon crown with the Spaniard overcoming Roger Federer in a classic final.