Rafael Nadal withdraws from the French Open and sets retirement date

Nadal has not played since suffering a hip flexor injury in the second round of the Australian Open

Jamie Braidwood
Thursday 18 May 2023 15:50 BST
Nadal says 2024 could be last year on tour as he confirms French Open withdrawal

Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the French Open due to injury and will not defend his title at Roland Garros, as well as setting a potential retirement date from tennis.

The 14-time French Open champion has not played since suffering a left hip flexor injury at the Australian Open in January and announced his decision to pull out of the upcoming tournament at a press conference at his tennis academy in Manacor on Thursday.

It will be the first time since the Spaniard won the first of his French Open titles in 2005 that Nadal will be absent from the grand slam.

The 36-year-old has in recent weeks been forced to pull out of events in Madrid, Monte Carlo and Rome as he battled to be ready for the French Open.

But the tournament, which gets underway in Paris on Sunday 28 May, has come too soon for the 22-time grand slam winner and he admits that if he’s able to return from the injury, then 2024 will also be his final year as a professional.

"The injury has not evolved as we expected," admitted Nadal in a press conference. "I will not be at Roland Garros and I do not intend to continue playing in the coming months.

"It has been difficult for me to find consistency because of my condition. And that has transferred to my personal life, where I'm not happy with how it is affecting me day to day.

"I need to put a full stop to my tennis career for the moment. I am going to let my body recover and, when I feel ready, I will start again.

"It is my aim to try and play the Davis Cup and prepare for 2024, which will be the last year of my tennis career. I won't play Roland Garros, I won't play for a few months and if I come back, next year will be my last year."

Nadal suffered a left hip flexor injury at the Australian Open in January
Nadal suffered a left hip flexor injury at the Australian Open in January (Getty Images)

With the pain that the hip injury is currently causing, the Spaniard felt he wasn’t able to cope with the physical demands that the French Open brings.

2024 may turn into a goodbye tour for one of the greatest players of all time and he is keen to give himself the best chance to relish that ride.

“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 on 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.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in