Rafael Nadal will miss the French Open as his January hip injury continues to hold him back, with the Spaniard already planning his farewell tour next season.
The icon who turns 37 in early June has not competed since losing in the Australian Open second round four months ago.
The 14-time Roland Garros champion has played his preferred major continually since 2004.
“There is no date for the return, I’ll try when I feel ready,” the 22-time grand Slam winner said.
“That could be the end of the year. My intention is to play again early next year.
“This will be my last year of my career as an athlete.”
The Spaniard added that his slow competitive decline has been coming on for several seasons.
“I didn’t enjoy my daily work. Since the end of the pandemic my body has not withstood the training.
“I couldn’t enjoy training and games. Too many problems for physical reasons.
“Too much pain. I have to stop.”
Nadal has singled out 2024 as his final year and wants to leave his sport in style,
“I want to enjoy it and play the tournaments that mean a lot to me,” he said.
Nadal said that missing Roland Garros would be a hard blow:
“After many years playing there, you can imagine how much of a difficult decision it’s been for me.
“This isn’t a decision I’ve made, it’s a decision my body has made. I’m not going to be playing for the next few months.’
About taking a break, the 22-time Grand Slam champion said: ‘I’ve got to draw a line and that’s what I’m doing now. Over the next few months I’m going to strengthen my physical state and recuperate.
“I need to put my career on hold and I’m going to try and regenerate my body. I’m not going to set a deadline – that’s going to be when I will feel ready physically.”
Main photo;- Rafa Nadal last played in Australian Open 2023 losing second round match by Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd