Nadal admits the end is near
Rafael Nadal announced Thursday that he will miss the French Open because of a lingering hip injury — and that he expects 2024 to be his final season.
Why it matters: Eight months after Roger Federer retired, his longtime friend and rival has acknowledged that he, too, is nearing the end.
The big picture: Nadal's 18-year dominance at the French Open is among the most spectacular achievements in all of sports.
- He's won 14 titles at Roland Garros since his 2005 debut, the most by any player at any major in tennis history.
- That includes last year's title, which he won on an anesthetized foot.
Wild stat: Nadal has played 115 matches at the French Open and won 112 of them. Preposterous. The "King of Clay," indeed.
State of play: Nadal, 36, had a sensational 2022 campaign that saw him start 20-1 and win two majors. But it's been an injury-plagued struggle as of late.
- He's just 1-3 this season and has dropped seven of his past nine matches.
- In March, he fell out of the top 10 for the first time since April 2005.
What he's saying: Nadal said he doesn't want to set a date for his return, but he expects to be out for a while as he tries to ramp up for a farewell 2024 season.
- "I am going to stop. I am not going to train," he said Thursday at his tennis academy in Manacor, Spain.
- "These have been many months with many moments of frustration, and I can handle frustration. But there comes a time when you have to stop."