Tennis superstar Rafael Nadal says next year will be his last year playing professionally.
Nadal has pulled out of the French Open due to his hip injury which failed to heal, saying he is taking time off to recover before 2024, which he expects will be his last year.
Stay up-to-date on the latest news with The National Briefing – keeping you in the loop with news as it hits:
“It’s not a decision I’m taking, it’s a decision my body is taking,” Nadal said at a news conference at Mallorca.
“It’s probably going to be my last year on the professional tour, I can’t say this 100 per cent because you never know what’s going to happen.
Nadal said the hip injury he sustained in Australia has not healed the way he and his team “hoped”, and he needs to give his body time to recover if he does want to return to the courts for a last hurrah.
“The injury I suffered in Australia has not healed as we hoped. Roland Garros became impossible. I will not be there after many years, with everything that (tournament) means to me.”
“If I keep playing at this moment, I don’t think I can be there next year.
“I don’t know if I’ll be able to come back in the highest level and compete for Grand Slams.
“What I will try to do is to give myself the opportunity to go back to what could be my final year competing at the highest level.”
It is the first time since Nadal made is French Open debut in 2005 that the 36-year-old will miss the clay court major – in which he has secured the title 14 times.
His 14 majors are the most by any player at a single tournament.
Nadal’s time away from tennis will see him miss Wimbledon and most likely the US Open.
Introducing The Science Briefing: a podcast about the science of everything and your new go-to podcast for your snapshot of science news. Hosted by Dr Sophie Calabretto and featuring journalists from Cosmos Magazine. Hear it on the LiSTNR app now.