Rafael Nadal has pulled out of the French Open, which starts 28 May, due to injury.
This will be the first time Nadal will miss the French Open since winning the first of his record 14 titles on debut in 2005.
In a press conference at the Rafael Nadal Academy, the Spanish superstar also said that 2024 could be his last year on professional tour.
We can't imagine how hard this decision was. We'll definitely miss you at this year's Roland-Garros. Take care of yourself to come back stronger on courts.
Hoping to see you next year in Paris 🧡 pic.twitter.com/lTN3GExBFo
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) May 18, 2023
When did Rafael Nadal pick up the injury?
“It has been very difficult months because we were not able to find the solution to the problem that I had in Australia,” Nadal said.
“Today I’m still in a position that I am not able to feel myself ready to compete at the standards that I need to be [at] to play a Roland Garros.
“I am not the guy that is going to be at Roland Garros and just try to be there and put myself in a position that I don’t like to be [in].”
Is Rafael Nadal going to retire?
The 36-year-old has not competed since January at the Australian Open, where he suffered an injury to the iliopsoas muscle in his left leg.
“I need to stop for a while. I don’t know when I’m going to be able to come back to the practice court, but I’m going to stop for a while.”
Nadal added that he is stopping to give himself an opportunity to enjoy 2024, which he said will “probably” be his last as a professional tennis player.
“I can’t say 100 per cent that [it is] going to be like this because you never know what can happen,” he said.
“But my idea and my motivation is [to] try to enjoy and try to say goodbye [to] all the tournaments that have been important for me in my tennis career during [next] year and just try to enjoy that that, being competitive and enjoying being on court.
“[That is] something that today is not possible. I really believe that if I keep going now, I will not be able to make that happen. I don’t know if I stop if I will be able to make that happen, but I think the chances are much higher if I stop.”
What is Rafael Nadal’s record at French Open?
Nadal owns a 112-3 record across 18 career appearances at the major (one mid-tournament withdrawal). He has a perfect 14-0 record at French Open finals and has won 97.4 per cent matches at the claycourt Slam.
Last year in Paris, Nadal defeated Casper Ruud in a three-set championship match to win a record-breaking 22nd Grand Slam singles title — a mark Novak Djokovic has since equalled.