The beginning of the end for Rafael Nadal: Emotional tennis icon, 37, pulls out of French Open and Wimbledon and says 2024 will be his last year after struggling with injury
- Rafael Nadal will miss the French Open and Wimbledon with a hip injury
- The Spaniard has been out of action since injury in Australia earlier this year
- He told a press conference that 2024 will be his final year on the tennis circuit
Rafael Nadal has signalled the end of his career is in sight and confirmed that he is out of this year’s French Open. He will take several months to try and put an end to his ongoing injury struggles.
The 14-times Paris champion also suggested today, at a press conference held at his academy in Mallorca, that he is looking at his final year on tour to be 2024.
The Spanish legend, nearly 37, will definitely not play Wimbledon, having failed to recover from the hip muscle injury that has seen him absent since the Australian Open.
Nadal explained that he has not been able to train properly for many months, and that he was not someone who wished to make up the numbers at Roland Garros.
His plan is to cease playing for an undetermined period in the hope that his body has a chance to recover ahead of next season, but he emphasised that he was not making predictions.
Rafael Nadal has told a press conference that he expects 2024 to be his last year on the tour
Nadal is to miss the French Open and Wimbledon with a hip injury he suffered in Australia
The 14-time champion at Roland Garros pledged his desire to play the 2024 Olympics in Paris
It will be the first time that he has missed Roland Garros since 2004. ‘It has been a difficult period for me, competing and training has not been enjoyable,’ he said.
On missing this year’s French Open, Nadal said: ‘After many years playing there, you can imagine how much of a difficult decision it’s been for me. This isn’t a decision I’ve made, it’s a decision my body has made. I’m not going to be playing for the next few months.’
About taking a break, the 22-time Grand Slam champion said: ‘I’ve got to draw a line and that’s what I’m doing now. Over the next few months I’m going to strengthen my physical state and recuperate.
‘I need to put my career on hold and I’m going to try and regenerate my body. I’m not going to set a deadline – that’s going to be when I will feel ready physically.’
The 36-year-old plans to make the most of 2024 by returning to important tournaments
He pledged his plan to come back to the sport by the end of this year, before making the most of 2024 on the circuit.
‘I want to go back to all the tournaments that have been important to me in my career,’ he said as he laid out his future aspirations.
Elsewhere in the press conference, Nadal said he hoped to make one final farewell appearance at the Olympics when the 2024 event goes to Paris – and naturally Roland Garros hosts the tennis events.
Nadal is set to drop out of the top 100 without playing in the summer’s majors, although he will have a protected ranking, and no tournament will turn down the opportunity to welcome the 22-time Grand Slam winner if he asked.