In a big blow to tennis fans, Rafael Nadal will miss the final Grand Slam of the year – US Open – after calling time on his season due to a foot injury. The ‘King of Clay’ revealed in an emotional social media post that his foot injury has been bothering him for a year. Nadal, who won his fourth Flushing Meadows title in 2019, is still being troubled by the foot injury he suffered in a classic semifinal defeat to Novak Djokovic at the French Open. The Spaniard could have topped the record Grand Slam chart had he won in his favourite court in Paris, but the Serbian World No.1 ended his supreme reign. It is to be noted that injuries have forced defending champion Dominic Thiem and five-time winner Roger Federer to withdraw from the US Open as well. Due to a knee surgery, the Swiss maestro is expected to be sidelined for many months.
Having already missed the Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics, the four-time US Open champion Nadal will also miss the final Grand Slam of the year. It means Djokovic will now have a great chance of going ahead of the pack in the all-time Grand Slam winners list. The 34-year-old bagged his sixth Wimbledon men’s singles title recently. As a result, he matched the Grand Slam tally (20) of his great rivals – Federer and Nadal – on the back of a 6-7, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3 final victory over Italian Matteo Berrettini at The Championships.
The Serbian, who has already clinched his ninth Australian Open crown in February and a second Roland Garros title recently, has a good chance of claiming the calendar-year Grand Slam, with only US Open left. Despite the fact that Djokovic’s ‘Golden Slam’ dream was dashed after losing to Alexander Zverev in the Tokyo Olympics semifinal, he will still bet on himself to win the US Open and complete a calendar-year Grand Slam.
Rafael Nadal suffered a shock exit in Washington recently before pulling out of the Masters 1000 event in Toronto due to the same problem. Speaking about his decision to end the season, 35-year-old Nadal said on Instagram, “Hello everyone, I wanted to inform you that unfortunately I have to end the 2021 season. Honestly, I have been suffering a lot more than I should with my foot for a year and I need to take some time.”
“Having discussed it with the team and family, this decision has been made and I believe that it is the way forward to try to recover and recover well. It is a year that I have missed things that matter a lot to me, such as Wimbledon, such as the Olympics, how the United States Open is going to be now, (and) many other events that are also important to me. In view of the fact that during the latter year I have not had the ability to train and prepare and compete in the way that I really like to… I came to the conclusion that what I need is time to recover.
“I am (determined) to do whatever it takes to regain the best possible shape, to continue competing for the things that really motivate me and the things that I have done during all these years. I am convinced that with the recovery of the foot and obviously a very important daily effort this can be achieved. I will work as hard as I can to make it happen.”