WASHINGTON, August 20, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)
Rafael Nadal announced Friday he is withdrawing from this year’s US Open and will close down the remainder of his 2021 season due to a chronic left foot problem.
The 20-time major champion made the announcement on social media and released a two-minute 20-second video message.
Nadal, 35, a four-time US Open champion (2010, 2013, 2017, 2019) who most recently won the singles title in New York in 2019, will miss this season’s fourth major for the second straight year. He declined to defend his title last year, when the US Open was played without spectators and with heavy health restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I have been suffering too much with my foot for the last year now,” Nadal said in his video.
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After losing to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals of this year’s Roland Garros, Nadal missed the Wimbledon Championships and the Tokyo Olympics while trying to deal with his foot problem. After being off the ATP Tour for two months, Nadal returned earlier this month at the Citi Open in Washington, D.C., where he accepted a wild card and was the top seed. He beat Jack Sock 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (1) in his first match, then lost to Lloyd Harris 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 in the next round. It was clear that the Spaniard’s on-court movement in both matches was still affected by his foot injury. Soon, Nadal traveled to Toronto but withdrew before the start of last week’s National Bank Open and this week’s Western & Southern Open in Mason, Ohio, both ATP Masters 1000 tournaments, and returned home to Mallorca to weigh his options.
Hola todos: quería comunicaros que desgraciadamente tengo que poner fin a la temporada 2021.
Sinceramente llevo un año sufriendo mucho más de lo que debería con con mi pie y necesito tomarme un tiempo.
— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) August 20, 2021
“I needed to talk with my family, with my team and with my doctors – especially to understand what is going on,” Nadal said in his video message Friday. “But the foot is not the proper way today and during the last year I was not able to practice and prepare myself the way I need to to be competitive at the standard I want to be. So, we had to take that decision, but I am confident that I will recover myself 100 percent and I will be able to fight again for the most important things.”
Nadal said the injury to his foot is “nothing new” and that it’s the “same injury that I’ve been having since 2005. In that moment, the doctors were very negative about my future career, but honestly, I’ve been able to have a career that I never dreamed about.
“So, I am confident I will recover again the foot, and when the foot is better, I will continue with my tennis. My mentality will be there, again, soon. You can be assured I will fight every single day to make it happen. … Don’t have any doubt I will miss you but I will be back and I will be back the right way.”
Thinking of you, @RafaelNadal ❤
Rafa has called time on his 2021 ATP Tour season, recovering from a foot injury.
We can’t wait to see you in 2022, Rafa! 💪 pic.twitter.com/bDkAvWLgCB
— ATP Tour (@atptour) August 20, 2021
With Nadal’s decision, coupled with Roger Federer‘s recent announcement to have a fourth surgery on his right knee, it marks the second straight year that Nadal and Federer, 40, will miss the US Open. The longtime friends and rivals share the record for men for most Grand Slam singles titles with 20 along with Djokovic, who will be chasing a calendar-year Grand Slam at this year’s US Open after winning the the first three legs – the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon Championships – earlier this season.
Nadal finished the 2021 season with a 24-5 win loss record. He won two titles, both on clay, at Barcelona and Rome.