Where will Rafael Nadal be ranked when he returns to the court?
Rafael Nadal has admitted he doesn’t know when he will be back on court, with his plans to have a farewell year on the tour in 2024 dependent on whether his creaking body will allow him to compete.
The 22-time Grand Slam champion is missing the French Open after losing his battle to be fit to defend his title in Roland Garros, with his absence felt by all in Paris as the tournament got underway on Sunday.
Now Nadal and his army of fans around the world will need to get used to the prospect of the Spanish legend plummeting down the rankings after the French Open.
With the 2,000 points he won at the French Open last year coming off his total, Nadal will tumble out of the top 100 of the ATP rankings when the updated list is released after the French Open title has been handed over to his successor.
Nadal will be ranked in the mid-130s on the ATP list at the start of June and there is a good chance that all his rankings points will have come off his statistics by the time he returns to court.
Nadal has 180 points to defend at the US Open later this year and he also has 200 points on his record from his appearance at the ATP Finals last year.
While he has suggested he hopes to play for Spain in the Davis Cup later this year, the 36-year-old conceded he doesn’t know if and when his body will allow him to return to action.
So he will rely on a protected ATP ranking that may allow him to retain a ranking due to his injury problems.
Nadal would also have no problem securing wild cards to whatever tournaments he wishes to enter next year, even if his rankings is outside of the top 100 or worse than that.
The bigger issue would be that Nadal would be unseeded in events he plays on his return, meaning he could be drawn against the game’s in-form players from the opening round.
The 14-time French Open champion 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.
“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,” Nadal told reporters.
“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.
“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.”
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