Why is Rafael Nadal not playing at Wimbledon 2023? Here's everything we know about the Spanish player's absence

Rafael Nadal is not playing at Wimbledon 2023, here's why.

Rafael Nadal playing tennis at the Australian Open 2023
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Tennis fans are wondering why Rafael Nadal is not playing at Wimbledon 2023, after the tennis star failed to appear in the tournament.

Rafael Nadal has noticeably been absent from tennis for most of 2023, last appearing at the Australian Open in January, when he sustained a hip flexor injury and had a medical timeout for off-court treatment during his match against Mackenzie McDonald. And as another Grand Slam gets underway, Nadal's absence has not gone unnoticed, as his chances of getting his hands on the Wimbledon prize money are dashed.

The Spanish tennis star isn't the only high-profile player to miss out on this year's tournament in London. Australian player Nick Kyrgios is not at Wimbledon this year either, and British star Emma Raducanu has pulled out of the tournament. Nadal's withdrawal will be a disappointment to many - much like the absence of Roger Federer last year - so here's everything there is to know about why Rafael Nadal is not playing at Wimbledon 2023.

Why is Rafael Nadal not playing at Wimbledon 2023?

Rafael Nadal is not playing at Wimbledon because of a hip injury he sustained during a third-round Australian Open defeat in January. He then underwent keyhole hip surgery, which has ruled him out of the sport for at least five months.

This meant Nadal was unable to defend his French Open title in May 2023, and he will also be absent from the US Open, which takes place in September. In a post on Instagram back in April, Nadal wrote, "It has been a difficult few weeks and months. As you know, I suffered a major injury in Australia, in the psoas (muscle). Initially, it had to be a six to eight-week recovery period and we are now on 14."

He added: "The injury still hasn’t healed and I can’t work out what I need to do to compete. I was training but a few days ago we decided to change course a bit, do another treatment, and see if things improve to try to get to what comes next."

The news of his absence comes a year after he was forced to pull out of Wimbledon 2022 owing to an abdominal injury. He received medical treatment during his semi-final match against Taylor Fritz, while his father was caught on camera gesturing for him to quit, and his sister Maria Isabel and pregnant wife Xisca watched on nervously. 

But the Spaniard continued with the match and came from 2-1 down to win the final two sets. Speaking at a press conference the following day, Nadal said "I have to pull out from the tournament. As everyone saw yesterday I have been suffering from pain in the abdomen and that is confirmed, I have a tear in the muscle.

"It is very tough circumstances but it is obvious if I keep going the injury will be worse and worse."

Has Rafael Nadal retired?

Rafael Nadal has not retired, but he has said that 2024 is likely to be his last year on the professional Tour, owing to his injuries.

He told reporters ahead of the French Open, "It might be a goal to try and play in the Davis Cup at the end of the year if I’m feeling good and also the captain considers me good enough. My hope is that I’ll return when I feel ready physically and I suppose, mentally.

"I want to give myself the opportunity to compete again. 2024 might be my last year but after that nobody knows what might happen. I’ll try to do my best to compete at the highest level and do everything in my power so that next year I can try and win tournaments."

He added, "I want to be thankful for all the good things that have happened to me. I can’t keep demanding more and more from my body because there will be a time when my body says 'That’s enough'".

How many times has Nadal won Wimbledon?

Rafael Nadal has won two Wimbledon titles, in 2008 and 2010. His first Wimbledon victory saw the Spaniard defeat Roger Federer, whilst his second Wimbledon win was against Czech player Tomáš Berdych.

The 2008 Wimbledon final between Nadal and Federer is one that Wimbledon commentator Andrew Castle remembers well. In an interview with Fanatix, Castle said:  "That match changed the game. The gold standard of tennis improved in one match. They pushed each other to mad limits."

He added: "I remember it was Tim Henman’s first Wimbledon final as a commentator. We both sat there in the commentary box in shock and awe. Nadal with his determination and muscularity is genius."

The 2008 Wimbledon victory also led to Nadal becoming the ATP World No.1 in the Tennis rankings, replacing Federer who was previously No.1.

Ahead of Wimbledon 2022, many had pegged Nadal for a calendar Grand Slam - winning all four Grand Slam titles in the same year - following his successes in Melbourne and Paris. Unfortunately, his injury prevented this.

Rafael Nadal: Tennis Stats

  • Rafael Nadal has won 22 Grand Slam singles titles in total and has won the second-most men's singles titles in history, with Novak Djokovic taking the top spot with 23 wins. Before Wimbledon 2022, Nadal held the title.
  • He is known as the 'King of Clay', because of his record on clay courts. The French Open is the premier clay event, and Nadal has only lost 4 titles out of the 18 he's played.
  • He was also the first player, male or female, to win 100 matches at the French Open.
  • He holds the longest single-surface win streak in the Open Era, having won 81 consecutive matches on clay between April 2005 and May 2007.
  • He is one of the few players to have won at all four Grand Slam tournaments during his career.
  • He’s now won more than a third of the Grand Slams he’s ever played.

Who else is not playing at Wimbledon 2023?

Along with Nadal, Nick Kyrgios, Emma Raducanu and British player Jack Draper will not be playing at Wimbledon 2023.

Kyrgios has suffered a wrist injury which forced him to pull out, news which came after weeks of speculation that his lingering knee problem would leave him sidelined. Raducanu has also withdrawn due to an operation on her hands and ankle, and it is not yet known if she will return in time for the US Open later in the summer.

Jack Draper will also be absent after having to pull out of the French Open due to injury, and is taking a break from the tour. He wrote on Instagram, "It's clear my shoulder is going to need time and rehab to get back to where it needs to be.

"My team and I have made the difficult decision to miss the grass-court season this year. I guess in this sport there are so many ups and downs but this one is tough to take. The only thing for sure is that I will keep persevering. Thank you for all the support I get on here it means a lot."

Novak Djokovic and Elena Rybakina will be the defending singles champions at the grass Grand Slam.

Looking for more Wimbledon news? We've revealed why Wimbledon is late in 2023 and why there are empty seats at Wimbledon.

Ellie Hutchings
Family News Editor

Ellie is GoodtoKnow’s Family News Editor and covers all the latest trends in the parenting world - from relationship advice and baby names to wellbeing and self-care ideas for busy mums. Ellie is also an NCTJ-qualified journalist and has a distinction in MA Magazine Journalism from Nottingham Trent University and a first-class degree in Journalism from Cardiff University. Previously, Ellie has worked with BBC Good Food, The Big Issue, and the Nottingham Post, as well as freelancing as an arts and entertainment writer alongside her studies. When she’s not got her nose in a book, you’ll probably find Ellie jogging around her local park, indulging in an insta-worthy restaurant, or watching Netflix’s newest true crime documentary.