Rafael Nadal pulls out of French Open and expects to miss REST OF YEAR as he reveals retirement plan
RAFA NADAL will not defend his French Open title after pulling out of the clay-court Slam due to injury.
The Spaniard – who celebrates his 37th birthday next month – announced in a press conference at his academy that he is not fit to compete at Roland Garros where he has won a record 14 singles championships and that 2024 will be his last year on the professional tour.
AFPRafael Nadal is out of the French Open[/caption]
The 22-time Grand Slam champion has not played competitive tennis since losing to American Mackenzie McDonald in the Australian Open second round.
Nadal suffered a grade 2 tear in his iliopsoas muscle – the main flexor of the hip joint – during his Melbourne exit in January.
It was initially expected he would only be sidelined for six to eight weeks but the issue has stubbornly refused to heal quickly.
Nadal has had to miss playing major tournaments in Doha, Dubai, Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid and this week’s Italian Open in Rome.
In a social media video posted in April, Nadal revealed his team were searching for alternative treatment in a race against time to be fit for an appearance on court in the French capital.
The French Open is set to being on Sunday, May 28 but the draw for the tournament will take place a week on Thursday.
A men’s competition without the presence of Nadal would be a significant boost for Serbian Novak Djokovic – who is chasing a record 23rd Slam – and incoming world No.1 Carlos Alcaraz of Spain.
Nadal missed most of the clay-court season in 2004, including that year’s French Open, with a stress fracture in his left ankle.
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Yet the following season, two days after his 19th birthday, he won the tournament on his debut, beating Argentinian Mariano Puerta in the final on Court Philippe-Chatrier.
His record on the Parisian grounds is astonishing – he has only lost THREE times in 115 matches – though he did withdraw from the 2016 third round with a broken left wrist.