Tennis veteran Rafael Nadal won’t be at the US Open 2021. The Spaniard confirmed that he will miss the rest of the season after undergoing scans on his foot.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion has enjoyed a 24-5 win-loss record in 2021, which includes his title-winning run in Rome. However, Nadal has only played two matches at Washington since bowing out to Novak Djokovic in the Roland Garros semi-finals.
Since succumbing to the Serb in Paris, Nadal had announced that he will not take part in the Wimbledon Championships and the Tokyo Olympic Games to prepare for the American hardcourt season. The Spaniard returned to action at the Citi Open in Washington.
In his first press conference, Nadal told the media about the condition of his foot which has been developing since his French Open defeat.
However, he was optimistic that it would get better once he started playing matches.
At the Citi Open, Nadal overcame Jack Sock in the final set tiebreak before losing to Lloyd Harris in the Round of 16. In the post-match press conference, Nadal expressed that he has played both matches [at the Citi Open] in a lot of pain.
However, he was optimistic about his foot condition and announced that he will travel to Toronto before making a final decision on his participation.
After coming to Toronto, Nadal took a few days off to discuss with his coaching staff and family about his plans for the season. Afterward, he concluded that playing with a fragile foot may potentially worsen the situation. Therefore, it is better to return to the tour after being 100% fit.
Nadal’s withdrawal means that he would lose 3000 ranking points from the Rogers Cup and the US Open wins in 2019.
As a result of a two-year ranking system after the coronavirus pandemic, he was able to maintain those points in 2020. The deduction in points will also mean that he will move out of the top 10 rankings at the end of the season. Since 2010, this is the fifth time that Nadal will not make it to the World Tour Finals in November.
The Spaniard hasn’t had the best time in Grand Slams since equalling Roger Federer’s record for most majors in 2020.
At this year’s Australian Open, he blew a two-set lead against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarter-finals. At Roland Garros, a place where he had only lost twice before this year, he surrendered his throne to the eventual champion, Novak Djokovic in the semi-final. Afterward, he announced his withdrawal from the Wimbledon Championships.
With Roger Federer’s announcement regarding his knee surgery last week, Nadal’s end to the season hits the fans even more considering both arguably have the biggest fanbases in the sport.
The tournament organizers will find it difficult to sell tickets in New York and also the future tournaments. Nevertheless, we know that Nadal has had these setbacks before and he came back stronger. So, we can expect the same now from him.