Record-winner Rafael Nadal announced in a press conference on Thursday that he would not be participating in the 2023 French Open, citing a lack of fitness as the reason for his withdrawal from the competition.
Nadal has won the tournament at Roland Garros a record 14 times in his career, a record for any Grand Slam in the sport. The Spaniard won his last title in 2022 with a completely numb left foot as a result of painkillers he took to deal with his injuries.
The veteran will be missing the French Open for the first time in 19 years as he continues to recover from a hip injury that caused him to crash out of the Australian Open in January. The 36-year-old has been training for weeks but has decided that he’s not fit enough to ocompete in the tournament, and possibly in any other tournament in 2023.
“I was working as much as possible every single day for the past four months and they have been difficult because we were not been able to find the solution to the problems I had in Australia,” Nadal said.
“I’m still in the position where I am not able to feel ready to compete at the standards I need to be to play at Roland Garros.
“I am not the guy who will be at Roland Garros just try to be there and in a position where I don’t like to be.”
Rafael Nadal has won the French Open four consecutive times thrice in his career. He announced that he would stop playing until 2024 in order to be in the best possible shape as he looks to end his glorious career in 2024.
“I will stop for a while, maybe one month and a half, maybe two months, maybe three months or maybe four months. I don’t know. I do not like to predict the future,” he said.
“I will do the right thing for my body and personal happiness.
“My goal and ambition is to try and stop and give myself an opportunity to enjoy the next year.
“That is my idea but I can’t say 100% it will be like this. My idea is to try to enjoy and say goodbye to all the tournaments that have been important for me.”
Rafael Nadal will become the second of the traditional Big Three to retire after Roger Federer retired last year. The Spaniard will look to add more to his 22 Grand Slam titles in 2024 and end his career on a high.