The Spanish Rafael Nadal, considered the best tennis player of all time on a clay surface, with a collection of 14 titles at Roland Garros, shook the world of sports by announcing this Thursday that the injury that haunts him will prevent him from being in Paris for the Grand Slam to be played from May 28 to June 11.
In addition, the crack born in Palma de Mallorca 36 years ago predicted that if his body allows it “2024 will be the last year as a professional in tennis”, in what will mark the epilogue of a brilliant career in which he won nothing less than 22 Grand Slam titles, a record he shares with Serbian Novak Djokovic.
“It is impossible at this time and after many years without missing this appointment (alluding to Roland Garros) because my body makes this decision. I have no intention of continuing to play for the next few months,” Nadal said sadly at the press conference. that he offered at the Tennis Academy that he owns in Palma de Mallorca.
“They have been difficult years although the victories mask it. My day-to-day life has been at a very low level, my intention is that next year be the last and to be able to play the tournaments that I want to say goodbye”, added “Rafa” .
Nadal, former number one on the planet currently relegated to 14th place in the ATP world ranking, has not officially competed for 120 days, when he lost in the second round of the Australian Open to American Mackenzie McDonald.
An injury, defined by his doctors as a grade 2 tear in the iliopsoas in his left leg, has been abusing him for four months and despite trying everything, including a double treatment on his damaged hip, he was losing several tournaments one by one and it was sensed that he would not arrive in Paris on time either.
The Grand Slam that he conquered 14 times since his debut in 2005, including last year, is left without his great champion to whom he dedicated a statue at his main entrance in May 2021.
“I’m sad, but you have to accept things. You can get angry, which is what I do, but from there you have to see the future,” acknowledged Nadal, who will miss the Parisian Grand Slam for the first time in the last 18 years. .
The previous edition of Roland Garros without “Rafa” was in 2004 when it was dyed blue and white with the remembered final that Gastón “Gato” Gaudio beat Guillermo “Mago” Coria in five sets, while he had also reached the semifinals another Argentine: David Nalbandian from Cordoba.
“I have no intention of playing in the coming months. I don’t have a return date. I have to regenerate my body. I would like to get to the Davis Cup this year and also prepare for next year, I can have illusions and intentions but, later, the destiny is governed by things that one cannot control”, added “Rafa”.
The notable tennis player, Davis Cup champion with Spain on five occasions (in the 2004, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2019 editions), referred to the injury that has affected him and that, in addition to Roland Garros, had marginalized him from the tournaments in Doha, Dubai, Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo, the Conde de Godó in Barcelona, Madrid, Rome and now Roland Garros.
“I probably want to face what will be the last year of my sporting life with the guarantees of being able to enjoy it and if I keep playing at this moment I don’t think that can happen next year,” concluded Nadal, who in his collection of 92 titles in the circuit includes the 2015 edition of the Argentina Open when he beat his friend Juan “Pico” Mónaco in the final.
The four-month inactivity cost Nadal to lose 2,370 points in the ATP world ranking to fall back to 14th place, and now with his loss from Roland Garros he will lose another 445 points that will make him leave the “top 100” to occupy the position 130, something that had not occurred since the week of March 24, 2003 when he was just 17 years old.
“Rafa” will not be able to fulfill his wish, which was to celebrate his 37th birthday (he will celebrate it on June 3) at Roland Garros and also raise his record of Grand Slam tournament wins to 23 to outdo Djokovic in the particular bid they maintain to take over of that mark in which now the Serbian will have a clear path.