MANACOR, Spain (AP) — Rafael Nadal will hold a news conference at his tennis academy in Spain on Thursday amid media reports that he is going to miss the French Open for the first time since he won the first of his record 14 titles there in his debut in 2005.
Nadal has been sidelined by an injured left hip flexor since January, when he lost in the second round of the Australian Open.
Several sports outlets based in Spain said Wednesday that Nadal would not be competing at Roland Garros, the clay-court Grand Slam tournament where main-draw play begins May 28. None of the reports cited a specific source.
His manager, Benito Perez-Barbadillo, said Nadal would speak to the media Thursday “about his participation in Roland Garros,” adding that whether or not the 22-time Grand Slam champion will enter the French Open, “and the reasons either way, will be only be communicated” then.
Nadal has a career record of 112-3 across 18 appearances at the French Open, a level of dominance unmatched by any man or woman at any Grand Slam event in the long annals of a sport that dates to the 1800s. When Nadal won the trophy in Paris last year at age 36 while dealing with chronic foot pain, he became the oldest men’s champion in tournament history.
The Spaniard hasn’t played anywhere since he lost to Mackie McDonald in the second round of the Australian Open on Jan. 18, his movement clearly restricted by a bothersome left hip flexor. That was Nadal’s earliest Grand Slam exit since 2016.
An MRI exam the next day revealed the extent of the injury, and Perez-Barbadillo said at the time that Nadal was expected to need up to two months to fully recover. He initially aimed to return at the Monte Carlo Masters in March on his beloved red clay, but he wasn’t able to play there, then subsequently sat out tournament after tournament, decreasing the likelihood that he would be fully fit in time for the French Open.
Nadal is just 1-3 this season. He has dropped seven of his past nine matches overall, dating to a fourth-round loss to Frances Tiafoe in the U.S. Open’s fourth round last September.