Record holder Rafael Nadal announced at a press conference on Thursday that he will not participate in the 2023 French Open, citing a lack of fitness as the reason for his withdrawal.
Nadal has won Roland Garros a record 14 times in his career, the most for any Grand Slam in the sport. The Spaniard won his last title in 2022 with his left leg completely numb as a result of the painkillers he took to treat the injuries.
The veteran will miss the French Open for the first time in 19 years as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury that ruled him out of the Australian Open in January. The 36-year-old has been training for weeks but has decided he is not fit enough to play in the tournament, and possibly any other tournament in 2023.
“For the last four months I’ve been working as hard as possible every day and they’ve been difficult because we couldn’t find a solution to the problems I had in Australia,” Nadal said.
“I’m still in a position where I can’t feel ready to compete at the standard I need to be to play at Roland Garros.
“I’m not the guy who’s going to be at Roland Garros, just trying to be there and in a position I don’t like to be in.”
Rafael Nadal has won the French Open three times in a row during his career. He announced that he will stop playing until 2024 to be in the best shape as he wants to end his illustrious career in 2024.
“I will stop for a while, maybe a month and a half, maybe two months, maybe three months or maybe four months. I don’t know. I don’t like to predict the future,” he said.
“I will do what is right for my body and personal happiness.
“My aim and ambition is to try and stop and give myself the chance to enjoy next year.
“That’s my idea, but I can’t say 100% that it will be like this. My idea is to try to enjoy and say goodbye to all the tournaments that have been important to 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 to his 22 Grand Slam titles in 2024 and end his career on a high.