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Nadal withdraws from Roland Garros, hopeful for final season in 2024

Rafael Nadal announced his withdrawal from the French Open on Thursday afternoon, which wasn’t a surprise since the press conference was confirmed about 24 hours earlier. Speaking at his academy at home in Mallorca, Nadal also said that he could come back for the Davis Cup Finals later this season before possibly making 2024 his last year on the ATP Tour.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion has been sidelined by a hip injury since the Australian Open.

“I was…working as much as possible every single day for the last four months,” Nadal commented. “It has been very difficult months because we were not able to find the solution to the problem that I had in Australia. Today I’m still in a position that I am not able to feel myself ready to compete at the standards that I need to be [at] to play a Roland Garros. I am not the guy that is going to be at Roland Garros and just try to be there and put myself in a position that I don’t like to be [in].

“I was not able to enjoy the practices and the competition because [there were] too many problems–too many times having to stop for physical issues and too many days of going here practicing but with with too much pain. So after I said that I need to stop. I need to stop for a while. So my decision is to stop.

“I don’t know when I’m going to be able to come back to the practice court, but I’m going to stop for a while; maybe two months, maybe one month and a half, maybe three months, maybe four months. I don’t know, I am not the guy who likes to predict a lot the future, so I’m just following my my personal feelings and just following what I really believe is the right thing to do for for my body and for my personal happiness now.”

As Nadal indicated, nothing is certain. However, the 36-year-old Spaniard does hope to play next season. In all likelihood, that would be his finale on tour.

“I can’t say 100 percent that [it is] going to be like this because you never know what can happen,” Nadal explained. “But my idea and my motivation is [to] try to enjoy and try to say goodbye [to] all the tournaments that have been important for me in my tennis career during [next] year and just try to enjoy that that, being competitive and enjoying being on court. [That is] something that today is not possible. I really believe that if I keep going now, I will not be able to make that happen. I don’t know if I stop if I will be able to make that happen, but I think the chances are much higher if I stop.”

As for the immediate future, Nadal’s exit from the French Open means Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic are the clear favorites–and also the top two seeds. Stefanos Tsitsipas, who finished runner-up to Novak Djokovic, is also a top contender to capture his first major title.

“Tournaments stay forever; players play and leave,” Nadal concluded. “So Roland Garros will always be Roland Garros with or without me.”

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on Twitter at @Dimonator.