Rafael Nadal, on Thursday, announced his decision to pull out of the 2023 French Open after failing to recover from the hip injury that has seen him sidelined since January of this year. The 14-time Roland Garros champion shared the news at a press conference in Mallorca, Spain.
“I was working as much as possible for the last four months. It has been very difficult because we have not been able to find the solution to the problem that I had in Australia, so today I’m still in the position that I’m not able to feel ready to compete at the standards that I need to be to play Roland Garros,” he said.
This will be the first time since his debut in 2005 that Nadal will be missing the clay-court Grand Slam that gets underway on 28 May.
Nadal and his team were expecting a recovery period of six to eight weeks, but the lefty has not returned to action.
Not only did the 36-year-old say he was pulling out of the French Open, he also said the 2024 season may be his last on the tour.
“My goal, my ambition is to try to stop (now) to give myself an opportunity to enjoy next year that’s probably gonna be my last year in the professional tour. That’s my idea, even if I can’t say 100% that’s gonna be like this because you never know what’s gonna happen,” said Nadal.
“My idea, my motivation is try to say goodbye to all the tournaments that have been important for me in my tennis career and just enjoy being competitive and enjoy being on court, which today is not possible,” he added.
In addition to his record 14 trophies at the Roland Garros, Nadal owns a 112-3 record across 18 career appearances at the major. His 112 match wins and his 97.4 per cent win-rate both stand alone as records, as does his perfect 14-0 mark in finals.
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.
Nadal overcame a chronic foot injury to win both the Australian Open and Roland Garros last season. But the Spaniard has played just five tournaments since due to injury.