Out from the Tour since his second-round loss against Mackenzie McDonald at January's Australian Open, Nadal is still recovering from a psoas injury (a hip muscle). Despite his efforts to get better and be back on court, the Spaniard, who has lifted the trophy 14 times in Paris, won’t play the tournament this spring.
'I won't be able to play at Roland-Garros'
The 36-year-old already had to withdraw from Monte-Carlo, Madrid and Rome. The 'King of Clay' was still working very hard at his academy with a unique purpose : being back on time for Roland-Garros, a tournament he hasn’t miss since his triumphant 2005 debut.
"I won't be able to play at Roland-Garros, we haven't been able to find a solution to the problem I had in Australia. I'm not the kind of guy who comes to play at Roland-Garros only to be there," he said.
2024, one last year
A little bit less than a month ago, in a video for his fans, the 22-time Grand Slam champion explained how he was trying a new treatment to try and finally move on from his injury. The plan was in place, but the timing was too short.
"I need to stop" he said, "just for a moment. Maybe a month, two or three before going back to training. It is the best thing to do for my health. I don't know when I'll be back yet, I will listen to my body" he announced.
The 14-time champion on Court Philippe-Chatrier has won 112 matches on the Porte d’Auteuil clay, suffering just three losses along the way. Nadal has built his legacy at Roland-Garros and hopes to be back in 2024, maybe for the last time, "it is probably going to be my last year. My idea and my motivation is to try to enjoy the Tour and say goodbye to all the tournaments that I enjoyed playing. The Olympic Games (played in Roland-Garros), are one of them, but I can't say yet that it will be my last tournament or not."
A. Mauresmo: 'Disappointed for Rafael Nadal'
Amélie Mauresmo, Roland-Garros tournament director, announced: “I’m so disappointed for Rafael Nadal, who has had to withdraw from Roland-Garros, his favourite tournament. I’m also disappointed for the spectators at the Porte d'Auteuil as well as for all tennis fans, who will not get to see this amazing champion in action this year. We will really miss seeing Rafael Nadal, whose destiny is closely linked with that of Roland-Garros after winning the tournament fourteen times. Right now, my thoughts go out to him, as I can only imagine the pain and sadness he must be feeling after having to make such a hard decision. It’s heart-breaking. We hope that he will be able to recover quickly so that he can get back out onto the tennis courts, and we hope to see him at Roland-Garros next year.”