The end is near! Rafa Nadal withdraws from Roland Garros and announces retirement date

Tennis - Rafael Nadal Press Conference - Rafa Nadal Academy, Mallorca, Spain - May 18, 2023 Spain's Rafael Nadal announces that he has withdrawn from the French open during a press conference REUTERS/Miquel Borras

No one was waiting for such news. Rafa Nadal withdraws from Roland Garros 2023 and announces his retirement in 2024. The Spaniard’s body refuses to obey him.

We knew this day would come someday. We knew the end was near. We also knew we wouldn’t be ready for it. We are not. Writing this text involves the use of hundreds of tissues and reddened cheeks from wiping tears. Unfortunately, nothing will save us from what we have to convey in this article. Nothing will undo it. The king is leaving.

On Thursday, May 18, Rafael Nadal called an emergency press conference at his tennis academy in Mallorca. So even then we knew that we could only hear one thing. Rafa Nadal is not going to Roland Garros. However, we were not in any way mentally prepared for the further revelations that the Spaniard shared during the conference. 2024 will be Rafa Nadal’s last season as a professional tennis player. Though it’s not known if he’ll make it. The Spaniard’s body refuses to obey him.

After the pandemic, Nadal struggled with so many injuries and constant pain that his body stopped responding to all methods of treatment and rehabilitation. The game gave the Spaniard no pleasure, and even more suffering. Therefore, the Spaniard must stop. He is forced to take a break from tennis and give his body time to recover. How long will it take? Unknown. Will it work? Unknown. The Spaniard hopes so. He deeply believes that such a radical move will regenerate his body and give him a chance to start in the 2024 season. With his current health, this move is the only hope he’ll be able to step out onto the court once more and say goodbye to all the tournaments he loved to play in. Including at Roland Garros, which he has to give up this year, and this is the most important slam of his career. It was here that he lifted the trophy for a historic 14 times. After that it will end. The Spaniard will put down his racket and end his career.

Those who, like us, cannot believe in these revelations, we leave with a quote from Nadal from the aforementioned conference. These words, which are like a cold shower, although they hurt, make you get used to the fact that in 2025 Rafael Nadal will no longer be a tennis player.

We worked non-stop and trained all the time, but the treatment didn’t work. I have to stop. I will not train. There have been many frustrating moments, but there is a moment where I have to stop it or I won’t make it to next year. I won’t be able to be at Roland Garros at the moment. You know how difficult it is for me. It’s not a decision I make, but a decision my body makes. On a personal level, I’m in good time. When this professional side is not right, it affects personal matters and I need to take a break. I will not give a return date. I will come back when my body allows me and I feel like I can be competitive with others. Next year will probably be my last year in tennis. I want to use it to say goodbye to all the important tournaments in my career. I fight because, although I don’t like the words, I feel able to say it: I don’t think I deserve to end like this. I have worked hard enough that my end is not here at the press conference, and I will work hard to make it otherwise. I am satisfied that we have done everything in our power to achieve the goals. When the time comes not to compete professionally again, I want the satisfaction of leaving the way I wanted. Don’t let me go early. I realize if I left now, it wouldn’t be early, but it’s always worth the extra effort. This has always been my philosophy and I still stand by it and I intend to fight for it. I want to take part in tournaments that are important to me and take part in the Olympics in Paris. Whether it will be my last tournament, I don’t know now.

Rafael Nadal

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