Nadal's reluctant 'adios' to Queen's 2012
When Wimbledon's chief executive Ian Ritchie voiced concerns in April that complex tax rules could deter athletes from competing in Britain, he was imagining a situation precisely like this.
Rafael Nadal has decided not to renew his agreement with the AEGON Championships at London's Queen's Club, opting instead to sign a new deal with the rival grass-court tournament in Halle, Germany.
So, despite frequently talking about his love of the Queen's Club, and the convenience of spending the Wimbledon build-up in the same city, he's off to Germany instead.
Rafael Nadal won't be appearing at 2012 the AEGON Championships at Queen's Club. Photo: Getty
It shows how serious athletes are becoming about this increasingly thorny issue.
UK tax rules state that in addition to tax paid on prize money and appearance fees, visiting athletes have to hand over a chunk of their international endorsement earnings.
This amount, regardless of whether earned at home or abroad, is proportional to the time they spend in the UK.
It means Nadal, who normally spends four weeks in London over the grass-court summer and then returns to the capital for almost two weeks in November for the ATP World Tour Finals, hands over a chunk of his earnings from sponsors such as Nike and Babolat to HMRC.
He claims he actually loses money from his week at Queen's and, while nobody knows exactly how much he earns in sponsorship, this comment suggests it's a king's ransom.
Tennis has been concerned about this for several years and officials have been lobbying the government quietly behind the scenes.
Other individual sports are affected and when Usain Bolt pulled out of the London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace, the Jamaican was believed to have similar concerns.
Ritchie said in April: "I think the overarching view is that what will happen is that these guys will choose not to come. It seems unfair individual athletes are subject to the taxation, while stars in team sports such as soccer are not."
It is believed Queen's officials are adamant that Nadal's defection is purely because of the tax issue. They are confident they could have resisted Halle's approach for Nadal with a new deal of their own.
The Spaniard's defection is a major blow but the tournament will still have an excellent field, with Andy Murray defending his title.
I wonder if there will be future concerns about staging the ATP World Tour Finals in London if the government refuses to alter the system, although I gather it's possible a change could be made to treat the Finals as an "exempt" event, as the Olympics will be next year.
This would certainly be progress in the attempt to keep international superstars such as Nadal competing on these shores.
Jonathan had more on this story, and other major events in the world of tennis, on 5 live Sport and you can download the programme as a podcast: http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/5lspecials