Rafael Nadal, a 14-time winner, said on Thursday that he has withdrawn from the French Open owing to injury and added that "next year is my last year" playing tennis professionally. This will be the first time since his 2005 debut that he has missed the tournament.
The Spaniard initially stated he wanted to be ready again within six to eight weeks after suffering a hip injury during his second-round Australian Open loss to Mackenzie McDonald in January.
The 22-time grand slam winner, though, stated his recuperation process was taking longer than planned in updates made on social media on April 20 and again on Thursday.
In addition, Nadal stated that he would be off the court for the next "few months" as he recovers, which means the 36-year-old will probably also skip Wimbledon.
"My ambition is to try to stop to give myself an opportunity to enjoy next year; that's probably going to be my last year on the professional tour," Nadal said at a news conference at his Rafa Nadal Academy in Manacor, Spain.
"That's my plan; even then, I can't say for sure because you never know what might happen, but my plan and motivation is to try and enjoy and try to say goodbye to all the tournaments that have been significant for me in my tennis career over the course of the next year and just try to enjoy that, being competitive and enjoying being on the court, something that is not currently possible.
I firmly feel that I won't be able to achieve that goal if I continue as I am right now. I'm not sure whether I can make it happen if I stop, but I know the odds are significantly higher.
The Davis Cup Finals, which begin in September, were mentioned by the 'King of Clay' as an event he hoped to attend.
Since making his successful debut at the French Open in 2005, Nadal has only lost three matches there, unquestionably one of the most dominant records in all of sports.
He lost to Robin Söderling in the round of 16 in 2009, which was one of the greatest upsets in tennis history. Novak Djokovic then defeated him in 2015 and 2021.
Due to a wrist ailment, Nadal withdrew from his third-round match against fellow countryman Marcel Granollers in 2016.
Since the Australian Open, Nadal has not competed, and in March, he fell below the top 10 for the first time since 2005.
Roland Garros tweeted, "Rafa, we can't imagine how hard this decision was." "We'll undoubtedly miss you at Roland-Garros this year. Take care of yourself so you can return to the court stronger.
"I'm hoping to run into you in Paris next year."