Rafael Nadal: Can he retire before 2024?

Fourteen times winner of the Roland-Garros tournament, Rafael Nadal will not participate in the 2023 edition.

Rafael Nadal: Can he retire before 2024?

Fourteen times winner of the Roland-Garros tournament, Rafael Nadal will not participate in the 2023 edition. The Spaniard announced his package on Thursday May 18 during a press conference in which he explains that he wants to return in 2024, but nothing is not on...

[Updated May 19, 2023 9:53 a.m.] Rafael Nadal called an exceptional press conference at his academy in Manacor on Thursday May 18 at 4 p.m. to announce his withdrawal from Roland-Garros. It is the first time since 2004 that the "Taurus of Manacor" has given up the Parisian tournament which it has won 14 times. Since 2005, he has come 18 times to Porte d'Auteuil where he has recorded 112 victories and 3 defeats. The Iberian champion explained that he still suffers from his left leg where he feels pain in the iliopsoas muscle. . "It's not my decision, but that of my body. I have no intention of playing for the next few months", justified "the ogre of ocher". During his media appearance, he remained very vague about his return date. What is certain is that the Majorcan will be out for a few months. He detailed wanting to return to the circuit in 2024, a season which should be his last year.

If he wishes to be competitive again, the opportunity to observe him at his best is by no means guaranteed. As a hard worker, Rafael Nadal will do everything to give himself the means to win new titles and, in the process, do a farewell tour. But in 2024, he will be 37 years old, soon to be 38 spring. Recovery is more difficult at his age. His fate could be identical to that of Federer who, remember, tried to play again at the highest level. Unfortunately, he had never been able to hold back a racquet in official competition and had put away his own during the Laver Cup (exhibition) in 2022. His retirement is still not formalized but many hope to rub shoulders with him on the courts next year as one of his former admirers, world number 1 (from May 22), Carlos Alcaraz.

Addressing his professional future after the announcement of his withdrawal from Roland-Garros, Rafael Nadal said during a press conference on Thursday: "I will try to regenerate my body. I will not set a return date When he is ready, he will try to be. The Davis Cup, at the end of the year, can be a goal", reports Le Figaro. The tennis legend then announced his intention to retire after a final season in 2024: "I want to try to face next year with guarantees in what I think will be my last year. [...] If i'm still playing right now i don't think i can be there next year my intention is for next year to be the last one and to be able to play the tournaments i want to say goodbye to those who have me brand." Reflecting on his possible participation in the next Olympics in Paris in 2024, Rafael Nadal said: "I would like to play what is important for me next year, and the Olympics are, but I don't know."

At the moment, the Spanish tennis player first needs "a bit of disconnection", as he said in a press conference. "I'm going to quit, I'm not going to train. In recent months there have been many moments of frustration," he explained. "There comes a time when the only reward is victory. You have to stop and see if the body regenerates on its own. I will resume when I am ready," added Rafael Nadal, who did not hide being " sad" to have "missed a season". Not resigned, however, the Spanish champion assured: "I made an effort so that my end is not there, in a press conference. I will fight so that the end is not like that." "I don't think I deserve to end up like this," he added.

Rafael Nadal was born on June 3, 1986 in Manacor, a town on the island of Majorca in Spain. Attracted very early by sport, in particular football and basketball, he discovered tennis and held a racket from the age of four where he benefited from the skills of his uncle Toni Nadal to teach him the discipline. Very quickly, Toni Nadal will transform his nephew into a real "monster of tennis", capable of winning the biggest trophies. He won his first competition at eight years old in the Balearic Islands.

When he was 14, the Spanish tennis federation asked him to leave his hometown of Manacor to join Barcelona to continue his progress with the aim of becoming a professional. But the Nadal family refuses to see little Rafael join Catalonia and the federation reduces the amount of its aid, which will be compensated by Rafael's father to meet the needs of his son. A true hope of Spanish tennis, the native of Manacor won the "Petits As" tournament in Tarbes in 2000, the unofficial World Championship for 13-14 year olds where he notably beat the Frenchman Richard Gasquet. He turned professional in 2001 after replacing Boris Becker in an exhibition in Mallorca against Pat Cash where 'Rafa' won against the then 36-year-old American.

After being a Wimbledon semi-finalist for the Juniors in 2002, nothing can stop Rafael Nadal, who immediately imposed himself on the ATP world circuit. Winner of his first Grand Slam tournament at the age of 19, Rafael Nadal enjoys an extraordinary track record. The Mallorcan has won 21 Grand Slam tournaments, including thirteen on the clay courts of Roland-Garros, a record. Olympic medalist in 2008, quadruple winner of the Davis Cup with Spain, Rafael Nadal has won everything during his career. Considered the best clay court player in the history of tennis, "Rafa" managed to dethrone Roger Federer from his world number one spot on August 18, 2008. A place he then held for 46 consecutive weeks.

Born right-handed, Rafael Nadal plays tennis with his left hand, his uncle having chosen to develop this aspect of his game to obtain a more powerful two-handed backhand. Known for his fair play and sportsmanship, Rafael Nadal is also renowned for being one of the most combative players on the circuit and an excellent defender who is difficult to overwhelm. His many routines during a match (meticulously placing his water bottles, touching his nose and then his hair at each point, etc.) are another characteristic of the character.

Since the start of his professional career in 2001, Rafael Nadal has won 92 titles, including 22 Grand Slams (2 Australian Open, 14 Roland-Garros, 2 Wimbledon and 4 US Open). Out of 1270 professional matches played, the Majorcan won 1058.

Since his time on the professional circuit in 2001, Rafael Nadal has won over $130 million in prize money ($130,681,472m). His personal fortune is estimated at just over 200 million dollars, the Majorcan has invested his money in real estate markets or in his foundation to help underprivileged or disabled children by using sport as a means of integration.

The most successful player in the history of Roland-Garros, Rafael Nadal has a special relationship with the Parisian Grand Slam, which he has won fourteen times, including four times without losing a set (2008, 2010, 2017 and 2020). This tournament is special for the Mallorcan, so much so that he has his statue near the Porte d'Auteuil.

Sincerely moved, "Rafa" said: "It's something special and important for me. It's the most important tournament of my career. When I come here, I feel like home."

In the top 10 since 2005, Rafael Nadal became on March 3 the only player in history with 6,000 consecutive days spent in the top 10 places in the ATP rankings. A unique performance for the one who managed to dethrone Roger Federer to the rank of world No. 1, a place last occupied by the Spaniard on January 20, 2020. In 2023, the Mallorcan left the top 10 because of his injuries. recurring.