Rafael Nadal announces withdrawal from Roland Garros and plan for ‘last year’ on ATP tour
Rafael Nadal has confirmed that he will not play at Roland Garros this year, with the Spaniard set to fall outside the top 100 for the first time since April 2003.
Nadal spoke in a press conference at his academy with his family in attendance, and revealed that he would be unable to play at the event where he has been so dominant over the years.
“I didn’t make the decision, my body made my decision. To play Roland Garros is impossible,” claimed the 36-year-old.
The 22-time Grand Slam champion has been out of action since losing to Mackenzie McDonald in the second round of the Australian Open with a grade two tear to his iliopsoas muscle, and has been pushing back his original six to eight week return date ever since.
Nadal will miss his most dominant major for the first time in 19 years, and is therefore going to drop outside the ATP top 100 as he will lose 2,000 ranking points as defending champion.
The Mallorcan announced that he would be missing the second major of the year and would not be competing for the next few months, claiming that 2024 is likely to be his ‘last year’ as a professional tennis player.
“Too many days I have been stopping with too much pain. I don’t know when I will come back to the practice court. Maybe two months, three, four,” explained Nadal. “I am following my personal feelings for my body and personal happiness. My goal is to try to enjoy next year. Which will probably be my last.”
This means that Nadal is almost guaranteed to miss Wimbledon, and is also very likely to miss the US Open which begins at the end of August.
Nadal did go on to suggest when he could return to the matchcourt, “I hope to be ready by the Davis Cup, and I want to play in 2024, which should be the last year of my career. I want to be able to enjoy it and to say goodbye to tournaments that I want.”
The Davis Cup Finals group stages begin for Spain on the 12th September in Valencia, with ties against Czech Republic, Serbia and South Korea.
For those who missed it…
Here's the Group C schedule 👇#DavisCup pic.twitter.com/prYLU90P0M
— Davis Cup (@DavisCup) May 18, 2023
If they are to finish in the top two places in the group, Nadal and co will move on to the knockout stages in Malaga which are held from the 21st-26th November.
Nadal revealed his hopes for the twilight of his career, “That would be my objective, to try to stop to face the last year of my sports career with the guarantees of being able to enjoy it.”
He continued, “And I am aware that if I continue playing at this moment, I do not think that this can happen next year and I want to give myself the chance of this happening.”
“I don’t want to put myself in a position to say one thing and to do another thing. My idea is that next year is my last day in professional tennis. I want to be competitive. The chances are higher if I stop now.”
Rafael Nadal big events missed in 2023
Nadal has been out for four months to the day, and has therefore been unable to compete at five ATP Masters 1000 events and another of his other favourite tournaments across the clay court swing.
Here are the events he has had to withdraw from so far:
- Indian Wells (Three-time champion)
- Miami Open (Five-time finalist)
- Monte Carlo Masters (Record 11-time champion)
- Barcelona Open (Record 12-time champion)
- Madrid Open (Record five-time champion)
- Italian Open (Record 10-time champion)
- Roland Garros (Record 14-time champion)
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