Rafa Nadal officially opted out of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Open tennis tournament on Thursday, April 4. The record winner will be absent, just like last year, because he is not fit.

The tennis star took to social media to share the news with his fans, writing “these are very difficult moments for me, sporting wise. Unfortunately I have to tell you that I am not going to be playing in Monte Carlo. My body simply won’t allow me,”

“And even if I am working hard and making the maximum effort every day with all the will to play and compete again at tournaments that have been very important for me, the truth is that I can’t play today. You have no idea how hard this is for me to not be able to play these events. The only thing I can do is to accept the situation and try to look at the immediate future keeping the excitement and will to play in order to give me a chance for things to get better,” commented Nadal.

It is a huge setback for the Spanish sports hero, who has been working on a comeback for some time but is still not fit. It is also a setback for the organisation because Nadal is incredibly popular with visitors to the storied tennis tournament, which he managed to win a staggering eleven times between 2005 and 2018.

The tournament will begin on Saturday, April 6 and conclude on Sunday, April 14.

Featured image: Rafa Nadal at 2021 Monte Carlo Masters, courtesy of REUTERS/Eric Gaillard