A left wrist injury has forced Rafael Nadal to bow out of the French Open. Nadal announced his decision in a news conference Friday, telling reporters he felt the wrist had a high probability of breaking if he did not withdraw from the tournament at Roland Garros. The decision comes a day after the 29-year-old picked up his 200th career victory at a grand slam in a second-round win.
According to New York Times freelancer Ben Rothenberg, Nadal told reporters the wrist issue first surfaced during the Madrid Open, in which Nadal advanced to the semifinals before losing to Andy Murray on clay for just the second time in his career. An MRI exam of his wrist did not show a break, but Nadal felt the injury would progress in severity given it involves the sheath of a tendon in his wrist. He told reporters that had it been any other tournament, he most likely would not have played through the injury.
"If I keep playing, it's going to be broken in couple of days…if not RG I probably wouldn't take risk of playing first couple days."-Nadal— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 27, 2016
Before his disclosure of the injury, Nadal cruised through his first two matches, losing just nine games through the opening two rounds as he dismantled Sam Groth 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 on Tuesday and downed Facundo Bagnis 6-3, 6-0, 6-3 Thursday in what would be his final match of the tournament.
Nadal dominated the clay court tournament for nearly a full decade, capturing nine French Open victories between 2005 and 2014. He first reeled off four straight wins from 2005 to 2008, then picked up a record five straight French Open wins from 2010 to 2014 after Roger Federer claimed the 2009 title. Nadal ceded his crown again in 2015, when Stan Wawrinka downed Novak Djokovic in the final.
The Spaniard’s exit from the tournament is the latest in a string of high-profile departures: Caroline Wozniacki, Belinda Bencic and Federer all skipped the French Open. Wozniacki, who has not competed since March’s Miami Open, pulled out with a nagging right ankle injury; Bencic and Federer are dealing with back injuries.
Nadal’s withdrawal automatically advances Marcel Granollers to the fourth round, where he will face either Alexander Zverev or 13th-ranked Dominic Thiem.