Rafael Nadal ruled out of 2023 French Open and sets plans for final season on tour

Jamie Shaw in French Open 18 May 2023
Nadal waves to the crowd (Photo credit: Matthieu Mirville/DPPI)

Rafael Nadal will miss the French Open for the first time since 2004 after withdrawing through injury, and has revealed next season could be his last on the tour.

Nadal, the reigning and 14-time French Open champion, has been side-lined with a hip injury he sustained at the Australian Open in January.

The 36-year-old has been an ever-present at Roland Garros for the last 18 years, winning a remarkable 112 of his 115 matches in the clay court major.

However, he will not be on hand to defend his title this year despite returning to the practice court in recent weeks, and has revealed next season is likely to be his last.

The 22-time Grand Slam winner made the announcement in a news conference on Thursday at his tennis academy in Majorca.

“I didn’t make the decision, my body made the decision. To play Roland Garros is impossible,” said Nadal.

“Next year will be my last year on tour – that is my idea. If I keep going now I won’t be able to make that happen.

“I was working as much as possible every single day for the past four months and they have been difficult because I’ve not been not able to find a solution to the problem I had in Australia.

“I’m not in the position to be able to compete to be at the standard to play Roland Garros.

“I’m not a guy who will just be at Roland Garros.

“I will stop for a while, maybe one month, maybe three months or maybe four months. I do not like to predict the future.

“I will do the right thing for my body and personal happiness. My motivation is to enjoy the season and say goodbye to all the tournaments I have enjoyed in my career.”

Nadal has not competed since picking up the injury during his Second Round defeat to Mackenzie MacDonald in Melbourne, and will also miss Wimbledon later this summer.

His first French Open crown came on debut in 2005, before going on to claim another 13 titles in his next 17 appearances, making him the undisputed ‘king of clay’.

The 2023 French Open gets under way in Paris on May 28 and runs until June 11.

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