IMAGE: Spain’s Rafael Nadal announces his withdrawal from the French open during a press conference at the Rafa Nadal Academy, Mallorca, Spain on Thursday. Photograph: Miquel Borras/Reuters
Rafael Nadal is forced to skip his beloved French Open after not recovering in time from the hip injury that troubled him duriing the AustralIian Open in January this year.
Nadal, who has dominated the claycourt season for close to two decades, has competed at Roland Garros every year since claiming the first of his 22 majors in Paris in 2005.
He defeated Norway’s Casper Ruud to win his 14th French Open title and his 22nd Grand Slam major last year.
While stating that he would not be defending his title at Roland Garros, he also said that he hopes to play his final Olympic Games next year.
SEE: Nadal to retire next year – hopes to play 2024 Paris Olympics. VIDEO: Reuters
Nadal said he needs to stop playing for the foreseeable future to make a full recovery and return for what he anticipates will be his farewell season.
“My ambition is to try to stop to give myself an opportunity to enjoy next year which probably is going to be my last year in a professional tour,” Nadal told a news conference at his tennis academy in Mallorca, Spain.
“The evolution of the injury I sustained in Australia has not gone as I would have liked. I have lost goals along the way, and Roland Garros becomes impossible.”
“I would like to play the things that are important for me and of course, the Olympic Games is one of the competitions that I would love to be in, you know. I hope to be there. If it is going to be my last tournament or not, I can’t say,” said the 36-year-old, who is tied with Novak Djokovic with a men’s record 22 slam titles.
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