Rafael Nadal was clear: no Roland Garros. In the press conference he called in Spain, he explained that the injury suffered to his hip has not healed and that a return this season will perhaps not be possible. Out of the French Open, but not only.
Should there be a return to the court, this could take place at the end of the year, for the final stages of the Davis Cup. A step that may be necessary for him to prepare for 2024. Year that could be the last of his career, if the physique does not assist him for these last moments to participate in important tournaments.
His absence from the Roland Garros is not the only bad news for the Spaniard. For one man who has achieved incredible records, another is coming to an end. With the forfeit in Paris, Rafa Nadal will drop out of the top 100 for the first time.
It will be the first time he has dropped out of the top 100 players in just over 20 years. His debut took place on April 21, 2003 and, after retiring at the Roland Garros, the Spaniard will leave the top 100. Surely this is the worst year since Nadal has been playing tennis.
A horror season, with only negative news, from a professional point of view. Worse than the two-year period 2015-2016. However, it's a bet that the Spaniard's pride will lead him to try to be fully fit in 2024, and try to close his legendary career with one last magic.
In the same press conference, Rafa Nadal was also clear about 2024. The former world number one's goal is to play the most important tournaments next year: Grand Slam tournaments and the dream of competing in the next Olympics, Paris 2024, on the courts of Roland Garros.
As what will he be able to access these? The first option will be that of the protected ranking, which could allow him not only to access the main draws of the main tournaments, but also to be among the top seeds of these.
The other option will then be that of the wild card, which will certainly not be lacking for the Spanish tennis player. This second hypothesis, however, would make him lose that seeded speech, which would lead the twenty-two times Grand Slam champion to start a tournament right from the start.