The French Open 2023 is to be held without two of the greatest tennis stars, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, for the first time since 1998.
Nadal, 36, who has been out of action due to a hip injury for a long time held a press conference on Thursday (May 18) where he announced his withdrawal from the French Open, which starts on May 22.
The Spaniard stated that he is not in his best physical condition after suffering an injury at Australian Open in January 2023, in which he was eliminated in the second round.
“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]," Nadal told reporters.
With 14 titles and 112 wins out of 115 matches, the 36-year-old is statistically the best player to ever play in the French Open.
While talking about his withdrawal from Roland Garros, the Spaniard claimed that 2024 might be the last year of his career.
“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 said.
Roger Federer made his debut at the clay-court Major in 1999. He appeared in 19 editions, with his only title coming in 2009 when he beat Robin Soderling in the final.
Nadal and Federer played one another in four French Open finals in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2011, with the Spaniard winning all of them.
Earlier, Australian tennis star Nick Kyrgios had withdrawn from the upcoming French Open 2023 due to a knee injury.
The 27-year-old underwent knee surgery in January and missed all three ATP 1000 clay-court events in the lead-up to his Roland Garros withdrawal.