Madrid [Spain]: The 22-time major champion Rafael Nadal on Thursday said that 2024 is “probably” going to be his last year on the professional tour and he will stop for an undetermined length of time.
The 14-time French Open champion Nadal has withdrawn from Roland Garros, he announced on Thursday at the Rafa Nadal Academy. Nadal added that he is stopping to give himself an opportunity to enjoy 2024, which he said will “probably” be his last as a professional tennis player.
Speaking at the press conference on Thursday, Nadal stated he is considering calling it quits on his professional career next year due to a string of ailments. For the first time in nearly two decades, he has had to retire from the French Open due to a hip injury sustained at the Australian Open in January.
“2024 is probably going to be my last year on the professional Tour. My goal and my ambition is to try and stop and give myself an opportunity to enjoy the next year that will probably be my last year on the professional tour,” Nadal said during a news conference at his tennis academy in Manacor, Spain on Thursday.
The 36-year-old has not competed since January at the Australian Open, where he suffered an injury to the iliopsoas muscle in his left leg. Nadal and his team anticipated a six to eight-week rehabilitation period, but the lefty has yet to return to action.
“I can’t say 100 per cent that [it is] going to be like this because you never know what can happen. 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,” he said.
“[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,” he added.
In last year’s French Open, Nadal defeated Casper Ruud in a three-set final match to win a record-breaking 22nd Grand Slam singles title — a mark Novak Djokovic has since equalled.
When Nadal won the trophy in Paris last year at the age of 36 and suffering from persistent foot discomfort, he became the tournament’s oldest men’s champion.
Nadal is widely regarded as one of the best players in history, having won 22 Grand Slam titles in a renowned career spanning nearly two decades at the highest level. Aside from a record amount of Grand Slam titles in men’s singles, Nadal has also won Olympic gold in singles in 2008 and doubles gold with Marc Lopez in 2016.