Rafael Nadal spent much of last year on the sidelines due to a hip injury that he sustained at the 2023 Australian Open. Initial reports had Nadal out for a while but were optimistic that he would be back in a few months. Roland Garros became the litmus test.
As the event approached and Nadal withdrew from more and more events, it became increasingly clear that something was very wrong, and then he announced his withdrawal also from the French Open.
It was a well-prepared press conference where the Spaniard shared several things, including that 2024 would likely be his final year. It's here, and John McEnroe certainly agrees that it could be his final year, especially after the way it started.
The 22-time Grand Slam champion sustained yet another injury that will keep him away from the courts for a while, but luckily it has nothing to do with the previously injured hip, despite being in the same area.
If the Spanish player can't compete, then he'll have to walk away from the sport, and as last year, the ultimate test is going to be the Roland Garros, a tournament that he has won 14 times in his career.
John McEnroe recently spoke to ESPN, and during the video conference, the former American ATP player stated that if Nadal won't be able to compete in Paris, he will likely end his tennis career.
I think Rafa was hoping, ‘Hopefully I’ll be ready for the French, see if my body holds up there. If it doesn’t, I think you’ll see him not play anymore. We’re all obviously hopeful he can because Rafa has been amazing for the game. We’d like to see him as long as we can.
There was an idea for Nadal to continue his career if everything goes smoothly and his body holds up, but that's in question now. Still, Roland Garros and the Olympic Games will be the goal. It wouldn't be surprising if he skipped everything before that.
The injuries are tough. The game has become so physical that I think the goal will be the French and the Olympics for Rafa. I think tennis-wise he’s optimistic because his level was quite high right away. It’s a matter now of managing the body and seeing if he can be healthy.