French Open: Record 14-time champion Rafael Nadal out for first time in 19 years with hip injury

Rafael Nadal will miss the French Open for the first time in 19 years after a hip injury ruled out the record 14-time men’s singles champion.

The 36-year-old Spaniard, who has won 22 major men’s titles, also said he plans to retire after the 2024 season.

“I didn’t make the decision, my body made the decision. To play Roland Garros is impossible,” he said.

“Next year will be my last year on tour – that is my idea. If I keep going now I won’t be able to make that happen.”

Nadal, who turns 37 next month, has not played since sustaining the problem at the Australian Open in January.

Nadal has been practising in recent weeks, but not been fit enough to play a tournament in the run-up to Roland Garros.

French Open: Record 14-time champion Rafael Nadal out for first time in 19 years with hip injury
Nadal’s injured his hip in an Australian Open second-round defeat by American Mackenzie McDonald on 18 January

The French Open starts in Paris on 28 May and runs until 11 June.

“I was working as much as possible every single day for the past four months and they have been difficult because I’ve not been not able to find a solution to the problem I had in Australia,” said the former world number one.

“I’m not in the position to be able to compete to be at the standard to play Roland Garros.

“I’m not a guy who will just be at Roland Garros.”

Nadal said he needs to stop playing for the foreseeable future in order to make a full recovery and return healthy to complete a farewell season in 2024.

“I will stop for a while, maybe one month, maybe three months or maybe four months. I do not like to predict the future,” he said.

“I will do the right thing for my body and personal happiness. My motivation is to enjoy the season and say goodbye to all the tournaments I have enjoyed in my career.

“If I keep going now I will not be able to make that happen.”

Nadal injured his hip during a second-round defeat by American Mackenzie MacDonald in Melbourne and initially expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks.

An MRI scan two days after the match showed a tear in his left psoas muscle.

Last month, Nadal announced he would not be able to play the Madrid Open because the injury “still hadn’t healed” and was planning a different course of treatment.

Then he withdrew from this month’s Italian Open – another important clay-court tournament before the French Open – saying he had still not been able to train at a high level.

On Thursday, he announced he will miss Roland Garros for the first time in his career in a news conference at his academy in Mallorca.

Nadal won the French Open title in his first appearance there in 2005, going on to triumph another 13 times in the following 17 years.

No player has won as many singles titles at one major tournament as the Mallorcan left-hander has at Roland Garros.

Known as the ‘King of Clay’, Nadal has won 112 of his 115 matches at the French Open.

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