'Next year will probably be my last': Rafael Nadal plans tennis retirement

Rafael Nadal.
Nadal is a 22-time Grand Slam champion. Credit: PA

Rafael Nadal has signalled his intention to retire from tennis in 2024.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion hinted at his plans after announcing he will be absent from next week's French Open, at Roland Garros.

Nadal has not played since his second-round exit to Mackenzie McDonald at the Australian Open, in January.

The 36-year-old has been suffering with a hip injury and the ongoing issue has failed to recover sufficiently in time for the tournament.

Consequently, the Spaniard will miss the French Open for the first time since 2004.

Nadal, who has won the French Open 14 times, now plans to rest for the coming months with the aim to recover so he can play at "important tournaments" in 2024, during what will be his final year on the ATP Tour.

He told a press conference at his academy, in Manacor: "My goal and my ambition is to try and stop and give myself an opportunity to enjoy the next year that will probably be my last year in the professional tour.

"That is my idea but I can't say 100 per cent it will be like this but my idea and my motivation is to try to enjoy and say goodbye to all the tournaments that have been important for me.

"To enjoy being competitive and something that today is not possible. I believe if I keep going now, I will not be able to make it happen."

Nadal has not missed the French Open as a player since 2004. Credit: PA

On next week's French Open, Nadal explained: "First thing I'm not going to be able to play in Roland Garros.

"I was even working as much as possible every single day for the last four months, they have been very difficult months because we were not able to find a solution to the problems I had in Australia.

"Today I'm still in a position where I am not able to feel myself ready to compete at the standards I need to be to play Roland Garros.

"I am not the guy who will be at Roland Garros just to play."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...