Rafael Nadal will not be able to defend his title at this year upcoming US Open tournament, held at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York. The 2013 US Open Men’s Singles champion officially withdrew from the competition this morning. Nadal has been battling an injury to his right wrist and was hoping to be fully rehabilitated in time for next Mondays’s opening matches. Rafael Nadal expressed his discontent in an announcement that stated he will be pulling out of the US Open with a wrist injury.
The news of the 14 time grand slam winner’s withdrawal from the highly publicized tourney does not come as a complete shock. Nadal injured his wrist on July, 29. while on his native island of Mallorca, Spain. While in recovery, the left hander wore a cast on his right wrist and many expected that, despite not being 100 percent, Nadal would be able to play through the pain. However, known for his double-backhand, the veteran may have been limited by the injury. According to ESPN, the 28-year-old will become just the fourth incumbent male champion to withdraw from the US Open in the last 45 years.
The superstar took to Facebook to announce that he would not be participating in this year’s US Open and that he was “very sorry” to deliver the news to fans. After siting out preliminary tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati, Nadal expressed optimism that he would be ready to make his return in New York. Initially doctors told him to wear a cast on his wrist for two to three weeks in addition to sitting out the tournaments in preparation for a US Open return. The two-time US Open champ wrote: “I am sure you understand that it is very tough for me since it is a tournament I love and where I have great memories from fans.”
A dominant player when healthy, one of Nadal’s biggest weaknesses is his lack of durability. The recent wrist injury is no fluke and marks the second time in the last three years that he elected not to compete in the tournament. After winning in the US Open in 2010, the Spaniard pulled out in 2012 due to a knee injury. With the wrist injury and US Open withdrawal, Nadal has had to pull out of five majors during his career. In 2006, an injured foot caused him to miss the Australian Open, as well as illness in 2013. After winning Wimbledon in 2008, knee tendonitis caused the injury prone champion to sit out the 2009 tournament. There is no telling how many more Grand Slam titles Nadal may have won if he were healthy during more of these majors.
“The King of Clay” is currently ranked as the number 2 player on the ATP World Tour and he was a favorite to win the tournament, in addition to number 1 ranked Novak Djokovic. With Nadal’s decision to pull out of the US Open with a wrist injury, five-time US Open champion Roger Federer emerges as another favorite to take the title. The 33-year-old has won a record 17 grand slam titles and has a total of 80 to his collection. Djokovic lost to Nadal last year in the US Open finals and has recently struggled on the circuit in the past month. A rematch with Federer, whom he beat at the All England Club last month, could be just the recipe for rejuvenation that he needs to win it all. The relatively narrow men’s field left after Nadal’s exit will have tennis fans around the world wondering who will be the ultimate victor in New York.
Commentary by Brandon Wright