Rafael Nadal absolutely devastated the tennis world on Thursday by withdrawing from Roland Garros at the end of May — and he dropped another bombshell at the press conference by revealing that 2024 will likely be the last year of his career.
The Spanish superstar said that he will take some months off to continue to rehabilitate from a lingering hip injury, with no clear timetable for when he will return. The 36-year-old held a news conference at his tennis academy in Manacor, Spain to deliver the disappointing news.
“You never know how things will turn out,” Nadal said, “but my intention is that next year will be my last year.”
Nadal did say that he still plans to comeback, with the Davis Cup Finals later this year as a potential first goal. Still, it’s brutal news for one of the greatest tennis players of all time.
The owner of a record 14 championships at the French Open tournament will miss it for the first time since making his debut there in 2005. Play begins in Paris on May 28. Nadal has an outrageous career record of 112-3 across 18 appearances at Roland Garros, a level of dominance unmatched by any man or woman at any Grand Slam event in the history of the sport.
He became the oldest champion in the history of the tournament when he defeated Casper Rudd in the French Open final in 2022.
The Spaniard hasn’t played anywhere since losing in the second round of the Australian Open on Jan. 18, 2023, his movement clearly restricted by his left hip flexor. It was his earliest Grand Slam exit since 2016.
Rafael Nadal is currently tied with Novak Djokovic for the most Grand Slam singles titles in history with 22, his last coming at Roland Garros.
He will go down as one of the greatest tennis players to ever hold a racket, and for many, one of the greatest athletes of all time.