Novak Djokovic Admits Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams’ Absences Are Affecting US Open 2021

Published 09/03/2021, 11:30 AM EDT
Sep 2, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Novak Djokovic of Serbia serves against Tallon Griekspoor of the Netherlands in a second round match on day four of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports


The US Open lost some of its shine even before it began this Monday. While Novak Djokovic takes part in the hard court Grand Slam, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal withdrew from the tournament citing injuries.

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On the women’s side, the Williams sisters, Serena and Venus, withdrew just days before the US Open citing the need to regain match fitness. After his victory yesterday, Djokovic spoke about the absence of the three stars in the sport.

Novak Djokovic reveals the impact of high-profile absences on US Open 2021

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A few weeks before the US Open began, Federer revealed the need for knee surgery, which forced him to sit out the rest of this season. Meanwhile, Nadal failed to fully recover from a foot injury he picked up at the French Open, withdrawing a few days after Federer. This meant that Federer, Nadal and Serena Williams missed a Grand Slam for the first time since the 1997 US Open.

After his victory over Tallon Griekspoor in the second round, Djokovic admitted their absences hurt the tournament despite featuring with Naomi Osaka on most promotion posters around New York.

He said, “Of course as a tennis fan I would like to see as many people as possible. If I and Naomi manage along with other players to attract more people to the US Open, to the stands, great! If not, then not great.

“But of course, the absence of Serena, Rafa, Roger and Dominic of course, Venus is affecting, no doubt about it. I know people like to see the three of us on the men’s side and of course Williams sisters and Naomi, and some of the biggest stars on the women’s side.”

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Djokovic calls for shifting focus towards promoting the new generation

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While addressing their absences, the World No. 1 admitted the newer generation need more attention. He believed their stories need to be heard along with gaining more credit for their efforts.

Sep 2, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates after recording match point against Tallon Griekspoor of Netherlands in a second round match on day four of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

“I feel, also the players who are here along with me on the men’s side deserve the credit. And they’re the next generation. We need to do more field promotion of their own stories, their own brands. I always felt like we need to put more players in the mix so to say.”

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While Federer and Nadal sit out, Djokovic could clinch a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam in Flushing Meadows. He faces Kei Nishikori in the third round of the US Open tomorrow.

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Sanket Nair

650 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management graduate, 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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