Rafael Nadal withdraws from French Open because of injury – USA TODAY

5 months ago Comments Off on Rafael Nadal withdraws from French Open because of injury – USA TODAY

PARIS — For the first time in his career, nine-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal pulled out of the tournament on Friday, citing a left wrist injury he had developed coming into the tournament.

“Every day it was a little bit worse,” a sullen Nadal, the No. 4 seed, told a packed room of reporters. “Every single day we have been trying to play. Yesterday I played with an injection in the wrist … I could play, but I started to feel more and more pain. Today in the morning I felt like I could not much move the wrist.”

Nadal has won this event a record nine times in his career, but last year was beaten in the quarterfinals by Novak Djokovic. He and Djokovic, the world No. 1, were slated to play in the semifinals if their seeds held.

His third-round opponent, Marcel Granollers, moves on via a walkover.

Nadal was near tears as he addressed reporters in English, wiping his eyes as journalists exited the room. He turns 30 next week.

“It’s not broken, but if I keep playing (here) it’s going to be broken,” Nadal said. “To win the tournament I need five more matches… that is nearly 100 percent impossible.”

Last week, 2009 champion Roger Federer pulled out of the event citing a back injury, making it the first Grand Slam tournament he had missed since the 1999 U.S. Open, breaking a record streak of 65 majors. Nadal, having made his debut here in 2005, was playing in his 12th consecutive Roland Garros, champion in 2005-08 and again from 2010 to 2014.

He made every indication he’ll be back here again in 2017.

“Today is one of the toughest press conferences of my career, having to pull out of the most important tournament of my career,” Nadal said. “There is no chance I can even practice today. This is a very bad position for me. It’s part of the life.”

Nadal had rediscovered his top form after a disappointing 2015 season, which included that quarterfinal loss in Paris to Djokovic. He is 72-2 in his career at this event, the most wins of any player. He remains tied with Martina Navratilova for most titles at one Slam, Navratilova having won Wimbledon nine times.

“I would have preferred if this had been last year,” Nadal said in a nod to his subpar 2015. “I was moving forward. I played at very high level for several weeks. Unfortunately, this has to stop now, but I certainly hope it will just be a brief incident and that I can fully recover.”

Nadal  was hopeful to be back on the court for Wimbledon, though he could not project a timeline. Surgery – at this point – is not required.

“We’re going to work hard to be ready for Wimbledon,” the Spaniard said. “For the moment I need a couple of weeks of … immobilization.”

Injuries have been a constant them in Nadal’s career, including a right wrist injury that put him out of the 2014 U.S. Open. In 2012 he missed the London Olympics due to a knee injury.

“[This] is a very tough moment because you expect and you wait for these two weeks for the whole year, and having to retire today is a very bad news for me,” Nadal said.

Nadal had expressed outright excitement two days ago for the August Olympic Games in Rio, saying he didn’t understand why some tennis players were choosing to miss “the most important sporting event in the world.”

As he does at the beginning and end of every event, Nadal kissed goodbye the team of stenographers who are present at his press conferences.

“Bye,” he told them simply in English. He was due to play Granollers Saturday.


Rafael Nadal withdraws from French Open because of injury – USA TODAY

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