Why Is Rafael Nadal Not Playing at the US Open 2021?

Published 08/24/2021, 12:00 PM EDT
Aug 4, 2021; Washington, DC, USA; Rafael Nadal of Spain goes to the net against Jack Sock of the United States (not pictured) during the Citi Open at Rock Creek Park Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports


World No.5 Rafael Nadal withdrew from the upcoming 2021 US Open last week. The Spaniard cited a chronic left foot injury as the reason for his withdrawal, which kept him out for two months after the French Open.

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After his semifinal loss to Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros, Nadal skipped the Wimbledon Championships and Tokyo Olympics to recover from the foot injury.

Aug 5, 2021; Washington, DC, USA; Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a forehand against Lloyd Harris of South Africa (not pictured) during the Citi Open at Rock Creek Park Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

The 20-time Grand Slam champion made his return on the tour at the Citi Open earlier this month, however, the pain in his foot persisted and he subsequently pulled out from the National Bank Open in Toronto.

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Rafael Nadal withdraws from US Open due to foot injury

Ultimately, after discussing with his doctors, Nadal announced he would miss the remaining 2021 season, via an Instagram video. The news was heartbreaking for the fans since they expected Nadal to recover before the US Open.

“During the past year I was not practising and preparing myself the way that I need to to be competitive at the standards that I want to be, so we had to take that decision. But I am confident that I will recover 100 per cent and I will be able to fight again for the most important things,” said Nadal.

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In the message, Nadal mentioned it’s the same injury he’s been suffering since 2005. Then a 19-year-old, Nadal suffered a rare congenital bone problem in the bridge of his left foot, an issue he’s been dealing with ever since.

This marks the second consecutive year Nadal wouldn’t compete at the US Open. Last year, the 4-time US Open champion skipped the tournament because of the COVID-19 restrictions.

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Injuries have hampered Nadal’s career on numerous occasions. In 2012, he missed the second half of the season owing to tendinitis in his knee. Similarly, he skipped the latter half of the 2014 season due to a wrist injury.

Apart from Nadal, his arch-rivals Roger Federer and Dominic Thiem have also withdrawn from the US Open. Nadal finishes this season with a 24-5 record and two titles, in Barcelona and Rome.

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Kshitij Tayal

469 articles

Kshitij Tayal is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having played district-level tennis competitions, Kshitij is also a tenured journalist of the sport with over four years of experience. At EssentiallySports, he pens down some thought-provoking pieces on players and tournaments across the ATP and WTA.

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