It was something that many people feared. A rumor that had been circulating for months. After a stellar start to 2022, winning two Grand Slam titles and reaching the semifinals of the third (Wimbledon), Rafa Nadal got injured and hasn’t been the same since.
This 2023 has been a blank year for him. When the clay court season, his historically preferred surface – for a reason they call him the king of clay – arrived, the announcements coming from the Rafa Nadal Academy were the same: he needs time.
He didn’t compete in the Monte-Carlo Masters 1000. He didn’t compete in the Barcelona Open. He also said goodbye to the Madrid Open. The latest to confirm his absence was the ongoing Rome Masters.
A year to recover and goodbye in 2024
In a press conference held a few minutes ago from his academy in Manacor (Mallorca), Rafa Nadal has announced that he will stop competing this year in order to focus on fully recovering his body.
Nadal’s plan is to aim for the Davis Cup at the end of the year, where he can once again lead the Spanish team, as long as the captain – David Ferrer – calls him (he said this with a hint of humor, knowing that he has a guaranteed spot).
And to conclude the announcement, Rafa has stated that his goal is to recover 100%, compete at the end of the year, and prepare for what will be his last season as a professional tennis player.
“My intention is for next year to be my last year. To play the tournaments that I feel like playing and bid farewell to those who have had a significant impact on my career,” said Rafael Nadal in the press conference.
Many people have been calling for his retirement for years. The reality is that in 2022, he arrived at the Australian Open on crutches and won it. He then won several Masters 1000 titles and claimed his 14th Roland Garros. And if it weren’t for an abdominal injury, he would have reached the Wimbledon final against Novak Djokovic.
For anyone else, we might ask for retirement or retirement. Rafael Nadal Parera has earned the right to decide when and where he retires. And let no one count him out, he will go for the four Grand Slams in 2024… and I wouldn’t bet against him.
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