Alex Corretja says Rafael Nadal's French Open withdrawal left him "feeling empty" as the Spanish tennis legend thinks it will be weird having a French Open edition without the tournament's record 14-time champion participating.
On Thursday, Nadal held a special press conference in Spain, where he announced his French Open withdrawal. In January, Nadal sustained an injury to his psoas muscle at the Australian Open. Initially, Nadal was told he would be out for six to eight weeks and also that he would probably be ready for the start of the clay season.
But Nadal suffered several setbacks in his recovery and the outcome is the one no one wanted to see
Corretja: It will be 'very strange' without Nadal
"It's very weird. It's very unusual to go into Roland-Garros not having Rafa.
It is going to be very strange without him. I thought that he was going to be able to win, even if he didn't play too many tournaments before because he is Rafa – the greatest guy in history, for sure, on those courts.
I feel empty. It is not going to be the same without Rafa at Roland-Garros. What he has achieved at the tournament is impossible to repeat, in my opinion. I was hoping he could have a few warm-up tournaments, but given he has taken this decision, it means he was not ready for best-of-five-set matches," Corretja told Eurosport.
Also, Nadal revealed his plans to retire in 2024. "I totally understand the decision and I think it is very smart because he has been trying his best in order to be ready for the clay-court season. If he sees that he is not able to play at Roland-Garros, I think it is time to reset and refresh to give himself time to properly recover for the future," Corretja said. Nadal will also miss Wimbledon but he is targeting to play again in 2023.
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