Rafael Nadal will miss 2017 and 2018 after announcing knee surgery

Rafael Nadal has won 20 Grand Slam titles but is yet to defend a title

French Open champion Rafael Nadal has announced he will have surgery on his right foot and miss the remainder of the year.

The 31-year-old Spaniard suffers from tendonitis and says he will go under the knife next week.

“I will go to surgery next week but I will be back,” Nadal told Spanish news agency EFE.

“And then in the following seasons I hope to have the physicality I need to reach my goal.

“To have all my faculties and to have the ability to be able to play at the level we all want.”

The 14-time Grand Slam champion won in New York in June, becoming the first man in the open era to win the same Grand Slam title nine times.

But he has played just three matches since and played a supporting role to Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka at the Olympics, where he was forced to watch from the sidelines.

Nadal missed five months of last season with a wrist injury but was back in action at the French Open, where he beat Novak Djokovic to win a record 10th title.

In his last match of the year, he had to withdraw from the Cincinnati Masters with a knee injury.

The 30-year-old Murray, the men’s world number one, will play his first Grand Slam event since Wimbledon in early August.

Nadal could now miss the start of the clay season as well as Indian Wells, Miami and Monte Carlo next year, which could add to Murray’s preparations.

Wawrinka, whose 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-2) win over Djokovic on Wednesday extended his winning streak to 22 matches, has played only one match since winning the French Open in June.

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