Rafael Nadal, who has been a participant in the French Open since 2005, will not be competing in this year’s tournament due to an injury. This is the first time in his career that the 14-time champion will not be attending. In a statement on Thursday, Nadal also mentioned that he plans to retire from professional tennis after next year’s tournament.
After losing in the second round of the Australian Open to Mackenzie McDonald in January, the Spaniard sustained a hip injury. At first, he stated that he aimed to recover within six to eight weeks.
Unfortunately, in a recent social media post on April 20 and another post on Thursday, the 22-time champion of grand slam tournaments shared that their healing progress is taking longer than expected.
Nadal shared that he will be taking a break from playing for the next “few months” while he recovers. This likely means that the 36-year-old will not be able to participate in Wimbledon.
Nadal expressed his goal of taking a break to fully appreciate his final year on the professional tour during a press conference at his Rafa Nadal Academy in Manacor, Spain.
“My intention is to fully embrace and appreciate my upcoming tournaments and bid farewell to those that have been significant in my tennis journey. While I cannot guarantee a 100% success, my motivation is to relish the experience and remain competitive on the court, which is currently not feasible.”
“I have a strong conviction that if I continue at this pace, achieving that goal will be out of reach. If I were to pause, I am uncertain if I could still achieve it, but the likelihood would significantly decrease.”
The tennis champion known as the ‘King of Clay’ announced his plans to participate in the upcoming Davis Cup Finals, set to begin in September.
Since his victorious debut in 2005, Nadal has only been defeated three times at the French Open, making it one of the most dominant records in all of sports.
In 2009, he experienced a major upset in the world of tennis when he was defeated in the round of 16 by Robin Söderling. He also lost to Novak Djokovic in 2015 and 2021.
In 2016, Nadal was unable to compete in his third-round match against fellow Spaniard Marcel Granollers due to a wrist injury.
Nadal has not competed in any matches since the Australian Open and in March, he fell out of the top 10 rankings for the first time since 2005.
“Rafa, we understand how difficult this decision must have been,” Roland Garros tweeted. “We will certainly miss you at this year’s Roland-Garros. Take care of yourself and come back even stronger on the courts.”
“I am looking forward to seeing you in Paris next year.”