Australian tennis legend Rod Laver says Rafael Nadal will be greatly missed at the French Open and wished the Spaniard a quick return to tennis courts. Nadal, a record 14-time French Open champion, held a special press conference on Thursday, in which he announced his French Open withdrawal.
Nadal, who hasn't played since the Australian Open due to an injury suffered to his psoas muscle, also revealed his intention to retire in 2024. "You will be missed at Roland Garros this year @RafaelNadal, the King of Clay always.
Your outstanding physical power, fighting spirit and dedication to tennis is unrivalled in the modern era. Rest up, mate. I look forward to seeing you again, on court or off," Laver tweeted.
You will be missed at Roland Garros this year @RafaelNadal, the King of Clay always.
Your outstanding physical power, fighting spirit and dedication to tennis is unrivalled in the modern era. Rest up, mate. I look forward to seeing you again, on court or off. 🚀 pic.twitter.com/r1bakMtGVR — Rod Laver (@rodlaver) May 19, 2023
Laver says Nadal will be missed at the French Open
After Nadal sustained a hip injury in Australia, everyone knew the Spaniard's focus would switch on being fully ready for the start of the clay season.
When Nadal pulled out of Indian Wells and Miami, no one was really surprised because the Spaniard's return was expected to happen at the Monte Carlo Masters. But then, Nadal suffered multiple setbacks in his recovery and ended up missing the whole clay season.
"I was working as much as possible every single day for the last four months. It has been very difficult months because we were not able to find the solution to the problem that I had in Australia. Today I'm still in a position that I am not able to feel myself ready to compete at the standards that I need to be [at] to play a Roland-Garros.
I am not the guy that is going to be at Roland-Garros and just try to be there and put myself in a position that I don't like to be [in]. My ambition is to try to enjoy next year, which will probably be my last year in professional competition.
My motivation is to try to say goodbye to all the important tournaments. 2024 will probably be my last year. I'm not going to set a return date before that. It could be reaching the Davis Cup at the end of 2023," Nadal announced.
Australian Open boss issues statement on Rafael Nadal, Ashleigh Barty wins in 2022
Carlos Alcaraz opens up on playing Olympic doubles with Rafael Nadal
Nick Kyrgios reacts to resurfaced Rafael Nadal's stunning return from 2015 Shanghai
Rafael Nadal's unawareness of a fractured rib
After Rafael Nadal in 2022, Carlos Alcaraz also set to play exhibition in Mexico
The candidates for the Tennis Hall of Fame: there's Rafael Nadal's coach