A hip injury will sideline Rafael Nadal for the 2023 French Open, and fed his decision to retire following the 2024 season.
Nadal said in a video press conference at his tennis academy in Spain on Thursday that his January hip injury hasn’t adequately healed to the extent he can compete at Roland Garros, which was his stated return target for several months.
The decision means Nadal won’t appear in the Grand Slam in Paris for the first time since he debuted in 2005. Nadal is a 14-time men’s French Open singles champion and has a record of 112-3 in the event.
A core muscle and right leg injury first waylaid Nadal during the Australian Open in January.
“I was working as much as possible every single day the last four months. And they have been very difficult months, because we were not able to find the solution to the problem I had in Australia,” Nadal said. “Today I am still in the position where I am not able to feel myself ready to compete at the standards I need to be able to play at Roland Garros.”
One month shy of his 37th birthday, Nadal has won 22 major men’s titles and said he has the hunger to compete for more hardware. But he also confessed he sees the end of the road — and will retire after the 2024 season.
“I didn’t make the decision, my body made the decision. To play Roland Garros is impossible,” he said. “Next year will be my last year on tour. That is my idea. If I keep going now I won’t be able to make that happen.”
Nadal said he will pause practice and training, allowing ample time to heal before making any competitive tennis appearances. He was unwilling to “just show up at Roland Garros” if unable to play to his championship standards.
“I will stop for a while, maybe one month, maybe three months or maybe four months. I do not like to predict the future,” he said. “I will do the right thing for my body and personal happiness. My motivation is to enjoy the season and say goodbye to all the tournaments I have enjoyed in my career. If I keep going now I will not be able to make that happen.”
–Field Level Media