THE MODERATOR: We’ll start with a statement.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, just, hello. I’m here to announce that I have to retire from the tournament because I have a problem in my wrist that I have had a couple of weeks. Every day that happens is stronger, and I arrived here with a little bit of pain but something that I think I was able to manage.
Every day was a little bit worse. We tried to do all the treatments possible. Every single day we spent a lot of hours here working so hard to try to play. Yesterday I played with an injection on the wrist with anesthetic, just to sleep my wrist, to play.
I could play, but the thing is yesterday night I start to feel more and more pain, and today in the morning I feel that I could not move much the wrist. So I came here, I did MRI, and I did echography.
Well, and the results are not positive. The real thing is not 100%, you know. It’s not broked, but if I keep playing gonna be broked next couple of days. Every day the image is a little bit worse.
It’s obvious that if it’s not Roland Garros I will probably not take risks on playing the first two days, but is the most important event of the year for me so we tried our best. We take risks yesterday. That’s why we played with anesthetic injection, so without feeling at all on the wrist.
But, you know, when I am coming to Roland Garros, I am coming — today I am coming thinking about winning the tournament. To win the tournament I need five more matches, and the doctor says that’s 100% impossible. That gonna be 100% broked. I cannot say in English because I don’t know exactly the name. Is I think is the sheath of the tendon.
So if I continue playing, then will be impossible to finish the tournament. Is no chance that I can even practice more today. That’s it. I have to take that very bad decision for me, but just that’s part of the life, part of my career, too.
I gonna keep going hard to recover as quick as possible and try to be back the next couple of years here having some more opportunities.
THE MODERATOR: Few more questions in English and switch to Spanish.
Q. I guess it’s the same pain you had before Monte-Carlo. You said it was going on maybe even before Melbourne. Is it the same injury you’re carrying?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. No, it’s another thing. Is not the same. I start to had that problem. I felt something against Sousa in Madrid. Next day in Madrid against Andy I played with mesotherapy to sleep a little bit the place and to have less pain, and worked because I could play.
Then that was Saturday. On Sunday I was in Barcelona. I traveled all the way to Barcelona to do all the tests, to check if I am able to play in Rome or not. So I went to Barcelona during Sunday in the morning. I spent all day there doing MRI and echography and all the tests, and the doctor told me that there is nothing really bad.
So I accept that, and I wanted to go to Rome and I went to Rome. I played only with anti-inflammatories. So I could play well. I played three matches and was okay.
But when I come back to Mallorca I felt a little bit more. And as I say before, when I arrived here, every day is worse. I cannot play with my forehand. That’s the real thing.
Q. How long will you be away from the tennis court? Do you think you’ll be fit for Wimbledon?
RAFAEL NADAL: We’re gonna work hard to be ready for Wimbledon. For the moment I need a couple of weeks with that, you know, with the immobilization.
Then we’re gonna do the treatment, and we hope the treatment works well. We expect to recover quick, to be ready for Wimbledon, no? But at this moment, you know, it’s not a moment to talk about that.
It’s just a moment to go day by day, to work hard. I hope to have a fast recovery.
Q. Is this an injury you anticipate might require surgery at some point? Have you talked to the doctor and he said that might be necessary at some point to recover?
RAFAEL NADAL: Not surgery at all at the moment. If I keep playing, yes.
Q. I just wanted to ask just to make sure. It’s your left?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes.
Q. I think you had a wrist problem two years ago, as well, didn’t you?
RAFAEL NADAL: It was in the right.
Q. It was in the right. So this is completely new?
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes.
Q. How difficult is it to take given how hard you have worked to get fit after your other injury problems?
RAFAEL NADAL: Is not about an injury like the knee that don’t have — we couldn’t find solution. Is a solution for this, and not very long-term solution. So I hope and we hope that it gonna be quick.
But the real thing is today is one of the toughest press conference in my career, probably. You know, having to pull out of probably the tournament that I have — well, it’s obvious that the tournament that is more important, more important tournament in my career, and at the same time a tournament that I feel that if I am well I always have my chances.
I think I am working so hard and I worked so hard to recover the level, and I think I was there. I played the last month and a half at very high level competing against everybody, and I felt myself ready for this tournament.
But it happen what’s happen. The only thing that I can say is bad luck and that’s part of our life. At the same time, for nine times in my career I have been able to be healthy here and to win this tournament.
Now is a tough moment, but is not the end. I feel myself with the right motivation and the right energy to be back in Roland Garros the next couple of years, and I really hope to keep having my chances in the future.
At the same time, is a tournament that I love so much. I feel the love of the people not only in the crowd, I feel that the crowd is supporting me a lot, but at the same time during the whole tournament, no? The organization, all the people who work in the tournament, we always had a great relationship. I have a close relationship with a lot of people that works here.
So, for me, is a very tough moment because you expect and you wait for these two weeks for the whole year, and have to retire today is a very bad news for me.
THE MODERATOR: Questions in Spanish.
Q. It might be easier for you. You were talking about the sheath.
RAFAEL NADAL: It’s not new. I have already said so, since Madrid in the match against Joao I felt this pain. But the pain was much lighter in Rome, and here it’s quite the opposite. It’s become worse and worse.
So there comes a time when I can’t hit the ball anymore. I can’t do this at all. I couldn’t hit a single ball. I played the match with anesthetics. I was ready to run the risk all the way to the limit, but there comes a time where you simply can’t go on.
I did all the tests that I needed, and I trust Angel fully. (Sound cutting out.) I think we have really reached the limit when we had pain. I could always move forward, but Angel always helped me to play to the limit. This time he says that I can’t play.
That is just the truth beyond the fact that I can’t do the forehand. Angel says he cannot inject anesthetics into my wrist for five more games. He says it’s impossible. I needed five more matches. But if my wrist cannot withstand five more matches, I simply cannot play.
It’s true that the sheath of the tendon is suffering. It’s a complex situation. Things have worsened. It’s really inflamed. A few days ago, the wrist was, say, X, and now it’s a fact. If I go on playing it’s going to break and it will mean months off the circuit.
In the current condition of my wrist it might just take a few weeks without moving. So I just need to face reality and stay calm. We have done everything we could. We have reached the end of our tether here in what was possible. We did everything that we could. Everything I was told to do, I did.
Unfortunately, that was not enough. You need to face the facts. We need to work. I’ll be back.
Q. I’m really sorry for you. I’m sorry for the tournament and for everyone. But you’ve had quite a few injuries in the past. You were unlucky in the past. Is this actually more serious? Are you more optimistic or less optimistic than you were, say, when you had other injuries?
RAFAEL NADAL: It’s not that serious. Everyone seems to think that it will take a couple of weeks, perhaps a month for things to improve, and the issue will be resolved. There is a solution. It’s not like when I had issues with my knee, because there we really couldn’t see the end of the tunnel here.
There is a diagnosis; there is a treatment; there is a time frame for immobilization. Of course medicine is not mathematics. You can’t merely rely on the dates that your treatment is supposed to end.
Maybe I’ll be three months off the circuit.
Q. So now in the French Open you took a number of risks because it was the French Open. Are you stop taking risks until you fully got over that?
RAFAEL NADAL: Taking the decision to withdraw, to retire from a competition such as this one, which is the most important in my career, to reach that decision you can imagine how tough it was.
So today I can tell you that I will not play before I have recovered entirely. But as I was saying, it’s not like I was saying it was a knee. If I hadn’t gotten over the knee — you know, a knee can last forever. But here it’s the wrist. And every time I hit the ball I can’t play. I can’t have pain every time I use a forehand.
And the pain is increasing, and I cannot play forehand at all. There’s no way I can play before I can use the forehand, you know.
Q. Mentally, of course, this injury is tough because it’s a special tournament for you. It’s also unfortunate because you were playing fantastically well, as you said in previous conferences.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, yes, of course it’s never good news. I would have preferred if this had been last year. We had done our homework. I was moving forward. I played at very high level for several weeks. Unfortunately, this has to stop now, but I certainly hope it will just be a brief incident and that I can fully recover.
The game that I have developed over the past few weeks when I have come back onto the circuit, when you’re on the right way, the right track, and you feel you have made efforts to achieve that, it’s true that when you need to retire it’s really tough.
These are not easy moments for an athlete, but there you are. Life goes on. The world isn’t going to stop. When I start training again, I will move forward and I will come back to the circuit for the rest of the season.
Q. You said that you were feeling less pain, you used anesthetics before?
RAFAEL NADAL: Only here. Not in Rome.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports