In news that has sent shockwaves throughout the sporting community, tennis superstar Rafael Nadal has revealed his plans to retire.
During a press conference on Thursday, May 18, the 36 year old told reporters that he will be unable to compete in this year’s French Open due to a hip injury that he has not yet recovered from.
“I was even working as much as possible every single day for the last four months, they have been very difficult months because we were not able to find a solution to the problems I had in Australia,” he said.
“Today I’m still in a position where I am not able to feel myself ready to compete at the standards I need to be to play Roland Garros.
“I am not the guy who will be at Roland Garros just to play.”
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Nadal went on to reveal that he plans to take time off over the coming months with the hope that he can recover in time for the “important tournaments” in 2024, with next year expected to be his “last year in the professional tour”.
“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 in the professional tour,” Nadal told reporters.
“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.
“I will stop for a while, maybe one month, maybe two months, maybe three months. I am a guy who doesn’t like to predict too much the future. I am following what I believe is the right thing to do for my body and my personal happiness.
“I don’t want to say one thing and do the other. It is better to hold the options open and see what is the best calendar possible.
“I would like to play the things that are important for me and of course the Olympic Games is an important competition and one I hope to play. Will it be my last or not? I cannot say.”
Following Nadal’s announcement, shocked fans flocked to social media to express their dismay at what one fan described as the “saddest news ever”.
Rafael Nadal will miss Roland Garros. That’s one of the saddest news ever and the saddest since Federer announced his retirement. It feels really weird not to have Rafa in Paris especially considering that he might as well never come back at all. #RolandGarros
— Dandan Gallagher (@dandangallagher) May 18, 2023
Too sad, both he and Federrer my all time favorites ????
— Judy Schoenbein (@judy_schoenbein) May 18, 2023
One of the best.
— Trevor G (@TrevorG1646669) May 18, 2023
Father Time is undefeated. ???? So glad I got to see him in his heyday. He deserves a rousing send-off.
— Faith (@bluelapis09) May 18, 2023
Rafa I know how you feel…. we’ve been through this journey with you…. take this time and enjoy your family ????❤… we love you! VAMOSSS Rafa ????
— ???? GayJo ???? (@LilWingsGrandma) May 18, 2023
Stay healthy, we will miss you every day
— sandri marouli (@MarouliSandri) May 18, 2023
Nadal’s withdrawal from the French Open follows fellow tennis superstar Nick Kyrgios’ announcement that he would also not be competing at Rolland Garros due to injury.
The French Tennis Federation confirmed Kyrgios’ absence after he was unable to recover in time for the tournament.
Kyrgios’ agent Daniel Horsfall had earlier revealed that it was “not looking likely” that Kyrgios would be able to compete.
“We are trying everything we can to have Nick ready on court as soon as possible,” Horsfall told The Sydney Morning Herald.