The 36-year-old Spaniard held a press conference at his academy to announce his withdrawal from the 2023 Roland Garros. During the press conference, Nadal also spoke about his health and that he needs to stop with tennis for a while.
The 22-time Grand Slam champion signaled an imminent end to his illustrious career, citing persistent health issues and a reduced capacity for enjoyment in the sport as key determinants of his decision.
In an emotionally charged press conference, Nadal unveiled not only his decision to sit out the 2023 Roland Garros, but also his intentions regarding the remainder of his career, which will most probably end after the 2024 season according to his own words.
"The real situation is that I was not able to enjoy my work since after the pandemic. My body was not able to hold the practices in a good way, so I was not able to enjoy the practices and the competition, because there were too many problems, having to stop too many times, and too many times going to practice with pain."
Nevertheless, Nadal's firm resolve to battle the odds was equally apparent. He refused to be pinned down by specific timelines for his return to practice. Instead, he has chosen to follow his "personal feelings".
"So my decision is to stop, I don't know when I'm going to return to the practice court. Maybe two months, maybe three months, maybe four months. I don't know. I'm not the guy who likes to predict the future, I'm just following my personal feelings."
The 2024 season, according to Nadal, is likely to be his swansong year on the professional tour. A year that promises to be filled with a heavy dose of nostalgia, grandeur, and an abundance of emotions, as one of tennis's brightest stars embarks on his farewell tour.
"I don't want to put myself in a position to say one thing and then do another. But my ambition is to stop to give myself an opportunity to enjoy next year, which will be probably my last year on a professional tour."
Rather than succumbing to a melancholic departure, however, Nadal's focus is to "enjoy and try to say goodbye" to all tennis tournaments that have been pivotal to his career. A champion's spirit never falters, even when facing the inevitable farewell.
"But my idea and my motivation is try to enjoy and try to say goodbye to all tennis tournaments that have been important to my tennis career during that year. And just try to be competitive."