It looks increasingly likely that 22-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal will miss the French Open this year.
According to Spanish publication Marca, Nadal will not make it in time for Roland Garros due to a left hip flexor injury he picked up during his Australian Open exit back in January.
The Spaniard is expected to make the official announcement when he holds a press conference at the Rafa Nadal Academy on Thursday.
“If he plays [the French Open] or not and the reasons either way will only be communicated tomorrow,” a statement from the player’s representatives read (via Yahoo).
Nadal was only expected to be out for a maximum of eight weeks following the Australian Open with a return targeted during the Sunshine Double in March.
However, the 14-time French Open winner has been forced to withdraw from every tournament since as his hip injury was not progressing as expected despite noticing improvement in recent days.
Having missed every clay event prior to the French Open, there was hope that Nadal could still make it to his preferred Grand Slam even without having the ideal preparation.
But now, it looks like Nadal will remain on the sidelines for the entire clay season.
If so, it will notably be the first time in 18 seasons that Nadal misses out on the French Open after winning it for the first time back in 2005.
His 2016 campaign was affected by injury, but he made it to the third round before having to withdraw from the tournament with a broken wrist.
Missing out on Paris also means Rafael Nadal will drop out of the top 100 of the ATP rankings for the first time since May 2003.