Rafael Nadal will miss the French Open for the first time in 19 years after losing a record 14 men’s singles titles to a hip injury.
The 36-year-old Spaniard, who has won 22 men’s Grand Slam titles, has also said he plans to retire after the 2024 season.
“I didn’t make a decision, my body made a decision. Playing the French Open is out of the question,” he said.
“Next year will be my last year on tour – that’s my idea. If I keep going now, I won’t be able to achieve that.”
Nadal, who turns 37 next month, has not played since a problem at the Australian Open in January.
Nadal has been training in recent weeks but has not been fit enough to play ahead of the French Open.
The French Open begins May 28 in Paris and runs until June 11.
“I’ve been working as much as I can every day for the last four months and they’ve been difficult because I haven’t been able to find a solution to the problems I’ve had in Australia,” the former world number one said.
“I couldn’t meet the standard to play at the Roland Garros.
“I’m not the type to only be at the Roland Garros.”
Nadal said he needs to stop playing for the foreseeable future in order to fully recover and return healthy to complete his farewell season in 2024.
“I’ll stop for a while, maybe a month, maybe three months or four months. I don’t like to predict the future,” he said.
“I will do the right thing for my body and my personal well-being. My motivation is to enjoy this season and say goodbye to all the games I have enjoyed in my career.
“If I go ahead now, I won’t be able to achieve that.”
Nadal was initially expected to miss six to eight weeks after injuring his hip in a second-round loss to American Mackenzie McDonald in Melbourne.
An MRI scan two days after the game revealed a torn left psoas muscle.
Last month, Nadal announced he would not be able to play at the Madrid Open because the injury “has not fully healed” and a different treatment plan is being planned.
He then withdrew from this month’s Italian Open – another major clay-court event ahead of the French Open – saying he was still unable to train at a high level.
He announced at a press conference at his academy in Mallorca on Thursday that he would miss the Roland Garros for the first time in his career.
Nadal won the French Open on his debut in 2005 and went on to win 13 more titles over the next 17 years.
No player has won as many singles titles at a major tournament as the Mallorca left-hander did at the French Open.
Known as the “King of Clay”, Nadal has won 112 of 115 matches at the French Open.
In a message to Nadal, the French Open said it could not “imagine how difficult this decision” would be for the player.
“We will miss you at this year’s Roland Garros,” it said in a statement. “Take care of yourself and get stronger on the pitch. Hope to see you next year in Paris.”
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