Why won’t Nadal be at Roland-Garros this year?

Why won’t Nadal be at Roland-Garros this year?

The tension ended early yesterday afternoon: Rafael Nadal officially announced his withdrawal from the Roland Garros tournament due to persistent injuries. There has been little doubt about this announcement in recent days

Rafael Nadal, winner of 14 titles at Roland-Garros, announced his package for the Paris tournament, the second Grand Slam tournament of the season, on Thursday May 18 at his Manacor tennis academy in Mallorca, Balearic Islands.

And yet, since 2005, the date of his debut at Roland Garros at the age of 18, the Mallorcan has never missed the biggest clay tournament in the world, this tournament that made him a legend and marked his reign on clay. It is therefore a first as the Spaniard has attended all the editions. He gave up only once, in 2016, but then on the eve of his third round, after a wrist injury.

For this year, he therefore declared during a press conference at his tennis academy in Manacor:

“Unfortunately, my injury hasn’t developed the way I imagined and it’s impossible for me to play Roland-Garros this year. (…) You can imagine how difficult it is for me. It’s my body’s choice. “.

To recover, Nadal decided to stop playing tennis for much of the season: “I have no intention of playing any further in the coming months. » That can be a goal at least until the Davis Cup in the fall. “ I have to try and start next year with guarantees, which I think will be my last year “. He would like to participate in Roland-Garros next year, what would be ” probably the last season of [sa] Career and bid farewell to the Parisian public who loved him so much and guided him to victory at the Porte d’Auteuil tournament.

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The Injury Chain

The 36-year-old Spaniard has been injured since Jan. 18 and a match at the Australian Open and has not competed since. In fact, Rafael Nadal was eliminated in the second round of the Australian Open by USA’s Mackenzie McDonald (6-4, 6-4, 7-5) and was severely limited due to a LEFT psoas-iliac leg injury. « [espérait] only it’s nothing too serious and that [’il ne sera] not be absent from the courts for too long”. The record holder of men’s Grand Slam tournament titles (22, tied with Novak Djokovic) has not played a single game since and his health concerns are mounting.

Müller-Weiss syndrome, a degenerative and incurable disease characterized by the deformity of a foot bone, in this case his left foot. Despite suffering from this chronic condition since he was 18, these foot pains first recurred in 2021, then worsened in 2022, forcing him to play undercover at Roland-Garros until his victorious final.

Nadal returns to Barcelona after his fourteenth title in Paris, following a ” pulsed radiofrequency treatment » who falls asleep the nerves in the area of ​​the injury from which he is suffering, said his spokesman.

A few weeks later, a torn abdomen forced him to retire ahead of the Wimbledon semifinals against tennis’ terrible kid, Australia’s Nick Kyrgios. But for Nadal, the doubts remain. If he is in Cincinnati, at the US Open and in Paris-Bercy as well as at the Turin Masters, he arrives at the Australian Open severely weakened. We know the rest with a elimination from the second round…

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Rafael Nadal has not played on the ATP Tour since his last match in Melbourne on January 18, 2023. His clear goal was to be ready for the start of the clay court season. After his first training sessions in March, he posted reassuring photos on social media about his health and his return to competition. However, at the beginning of April, doubts began to settle in the world of the little yellow ball: Rafael had to postpone his return to competition and announced his withdrawal from the Monte Carlo tournament, often seen as one of the rehearsals before Roland-Garros: “I’m not ready to compete at the highest level yet, I won’t be able to compete in one of the most important tournaments of my career, Monte-Carlo,” he announced on April 4th on his social networks. And the doubt will remain … Ten days later, he withdraws from Barcelona, ​​​​​​Madrid, then Rome and the other preparatory tournaments in Roland-Garros.

The video that inspires the tennis world

The video of Rafael Nadal’s training, filmed at the end of training on May 11 and published on social networks, went around the world and sowed the biggest doubts about his participation in the Porte d’Auteuil tournament. We see Rafael Nadal in his academy in Manacor (Mallorca) for several seconds in a seat next to his coaches, hands on knees and head bowed.

The Paris tournament is an extremely demanding tournament. The speed of the balls, slowed down by the earth, prevents the successful serve-shot sequence. For this reason, playing on clay requires excellent physical condition to last the entire duration of the game change, with a game being played every two days for the two-week period for the winner. Rafael Nadal, used to fighting to the end on the pitch, threw in the towel this time before beginning “his” Paris fortnight, during which he celebrates his birthday on June 3 every year and which almost always coincides with his coronation ends.

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Rafael Nadal said:

« The tournaments stay forever, the players… play and go? You are just passing through. Roland-Garros will always be Roland-Garros, with or without me, there’s no doubt about that. It is the largest clay tournament in the world. As always, there will be a Roland Garros winner. It won’t be me, it will be someone else. So life is »

The 2023 Roland Garros edition will therefore be orphaned by Rafael Nadal and perhaps the same will be the case for future editions, although on Thursday the Spaniard did not rule out competing again in a year’s time. Also this year, his ardent admirers can always take solace in the life-size statue of Nadal in Roland-Garros, inaugurated two years ago. And when the throne of the 2003 Paris tournament is vacant, the candidates for Nadal’s succession prepare themselves, starting with Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, the new world number one, who would not mind replacing his compatriot Porte d’Auteuil. After the resignation of Roger Federer and the package of Nadal, one of the three greats to dominate tennis in the XXIe Century only Novak Djokovic remains for this edition.

Will Nadal win his bet to return to Roland-Garros in 2024 and continue with the Paris Olympics? Caution is required…

Also read: What disease does Nadal suffer from?