Rafael Nadal out of French Open due to injury and expects 2024 to be last year of career

Spaniard pulls out of Grand Slam he has won a record 14 times and will miss tournament for first time since making debut in 2005

Rafael Nadal has not played since January due to a hip injury he picked up at the Australian Open. Reuters
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Rafael Nadal has announced that he is missing this year's French Open due to a hip injury and will not be defending a crown he has won a record 14 times.

During a news conference at his tennis academy in Mallorca on Thursday, Nadal also admitted that 2024 is set to be his last year in professional tennis.

The 36-year-old has not competed since January after sustaining a hip injury during his second-round loss to Mackenzie McDonald at the Australian Open and has now confirmed that he will miss the French Grand Slam that beings on May 28.

“The first thing is I’m not going to be able to play in Roland Garros,” Nadal said.

“I was even working as much as possible every single day for last four months, they have been very difficult months because we were not able to find a solution to the problems I have in Australia.

“Today I am still in a position where I am not able to feel myself ready to compete at the standards I need to be able to play Roland Garros.

“I am not the guy who will be at Roland Garros just to play.”

Nadal, who has long been the dominating force on the clay-court season, has competed at Roland Garros every year since claiming the first of his record 22 major titles – an achievement shared with old rival Novak Djokovic – in Paris in 2005.

He overcame a niggling foot injury to defeat Casper Ruud 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 in last year's final and became the oldest champion in tournament history.

Nadal has battled his way through knee, wrist and foot problems through his career, although over the past year his physical issues have accelerated.

His next birthday is on June 3, when ordinarily he might have been playing his third-round match in Court Philippe Chatrier. Instead, he will be out of action, just as he has been for most of this season.

Nadal's latest injury has decimated his season so far, forcing him to miss events at Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid and this week's Rome Masters.

Missing out on Roland Garros is a bitter blow for Nadal where his remarkable record stands at 112-3 across 18 appearances in the French capital.

Nadal revealed his plan is to give his body time to recover and admitted that could take up to three months, which would rule out his participation from this year’s Wimbledon.

The Spaniard also confirmed his desire to retire at the end of next year.

“My goal and my ambition is to try and stop and give myself an opportunity to enjoy the next year that will probably be my last year in the professional tour,” he added.

“That is my idea but I can’t say 100 per cent it will be like this but my idea and my motivation is to try to enjoy and say goodbye to all the tournaments that have been important for me.

“To enjoy being competitive and something that today is not possible. I believe if I keep going now, I will not be able to make it happen.”

Updated: May 19, 2023, 6:45 AM