Rafael Nadal is preparing to announce that he will not defend his French Open title later today, Thursday, but there is a sense of fear among the fans that the Spaniard will retire.
Nadal, 36, has not participated in competitions since last January, due to a groin injury at the Australian Open, and is expected to announce his decision to miss the French Open, which he won a record 14 times.
Nadal has dominated clay court tournaments for years, competing with the Spanish “Matador” in the French Open “Roland Garros” (one of the four Grand Slams) every year since he won his first title among 22 Grand Slam titles in 2005 in Paris.
He overcame a foot injury to defeat Casper Roode in last year’s final.
However, he suffered from his latest injury and missed the Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid matches, as well as the Italian Open, this week.
He left the fans with a feeling of pessimism about his physical condition after a recent video clip – posted on YouTube – in which he appeared to be suffering while leaving a previous training session.
On the page, which will broadcast a press conference for Nadal later today, Thursday, fans posted emojis in the form of crying faces, amid fears that he announced his retirement.
“Don’t do that!” one commented, and another wrote, “Tennis wouldn’t be the same without you.”
No other player has dominated a major singles tournament like Nadal, and his impressive tally in Paris includes 112-3 in Paris to claim the title of “King of Clay”.
The French Open starts on May 28.