What’s Going Wrong With Rafael Nadal Following Multiple Withdrawals Before US Open 2021?

Published 08/11/2021, 4:00 PM EDT
ROME, ITALY – MAY 12: Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts to a missed point on day 5 of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia match between Rafael Nadal of Spain and Jannik Sinner of Italy at Foro Italico on May 12, 2021 in Rome, Italy. Sporting stadiums around Italy remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)


Rafael Nadal has had a turbulent 2021 season so far. The Spaniard started the season well, reaching the quarterfinals in every tournament he took part in till the French Open. However, following his loss to Novak Djokovic in the French Open, he suffered a lengthy layoff due to injury.

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The layoff saw him withdraw from Wimbledon and the subsequent Tokyo Olympics. Although he returned to action in the Citi Open, he announced his withdrawal from the upcoming National Bank Open. With just under three weeks to go for the US Open, this presents a major blow to the 35-year-old’s preparations.

Rafael Nadal withdraws from the National Bank Open to place the spotlight on injury concerns

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Nadal came into the Australian Open as a favorite given his World No. 2 ranking. However, he suffered a loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarterfinals despite leading by two sets. He also failed to add a 14th French Open title after losing a titanic four-setter to Djokovic in the final.

After a long injury layoff, he returned to the court in the Citi Open. During his first round victory over Jack Sock, the Spaniard struggled in various parts of the match, hobbling around the court on occasion.

However, he lost his third round match to Lloyd Harris 4-6, 6-1, 4-6. Although he admitted his foot during the match was better than the game against Sock, he withdrew from the National Bank Open, formerly known as the Rogers Cup.

This withdrawal hints at the possibility of Nadal not being 100% fit before the Citi Open. However, there could be hope for Nadal fans across the world given his displays in Washington.

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Will Nadal be the first among the Big 3 to withdraw from the US Open?

With the US Open beginning on August 30, only 18 days remain for Nadal to regain full fitness. However, Djokovic and Roger Federer also cast doubts on their participation in Flushing Meadows after withdrawing from the Cincinnati Open and National Bank Open as well. Both tournaments serve as warmup tournaments for the hard court Grand Slam.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 08: Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts during the fifth set of his Men’s Singles final match against Daniil Medvedev of Russia on day fourteen of the 2019 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 08, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Should they take part in the US Open this year, all three of them will be gunning for a 21st career Grand Slam. With his withdrawal from the National Bank Open, is Nadal saving himself for Flushing Meadows? Or is the foot injury much more serious than it seems for the World No. 4?

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Sanket Nair

645 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management student, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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