Home / Sports / Rafael Nadal to miss US Open, ends 2021 season prematurely over foot injury

Rafael Nadal to miss US Open, ends 2021 season prematurely over foot injury

Spaniard takes to Twitter to make the announcement, says "have been suffering much more than I should"
Rafael Nadal waves to fans as he leaves the court after losing to Lloyd Harris in Washington on August 5.
Rafael Nadal waves to fans as he leaves the court after losing to Lloyd Harris in Washington on August 5.

Our Bureau And Agencies   |   Published 20.08.21, 04:36 PM

Novak Djokovic’s endeavour to complete the first calendar Grand Slam in men’s singles since Rod Laver managed it in 1969 will face lesser resistance as long-time rival Rafael Nadal announced on Friday that he will end his 2021 season early due to a left foot issue that has been troubling him for a year, thereby ruling him out of the upcoming US Open.

Roger Federer, who completes the trinity of masters of modern tennis, too has already withdrawn from the year’s last major — and of course the rest of the season — as he needs a fourth knee surgery. Austria’s Dominic Thiem, last year’s US Open champion,


too will be absent from the Flushing Meadows extravaganza, which runs from August 30 to September 12, due to a wrist injury.

“I wanted to inform you that unfortunately I have to end the 2021 season,” Nadal tweeted on Friday.

The recurring issue flared up at the French Open, where he fell to eventual champion Djokovic in the semi-finals.

“Honestly, I have been suffering much more than I should with my foot for a year and I need to take some time... to find a solution to this problem or at least improve it in order to continue to have options for the next few years,” Nadal said.

“I’m with the maximum enthusiasm and predisposition to do whatever it takes to recover the best possible shape to keep competing for the things that really motivate me.

“I needed to talk with my family, with my team and with my doctors especially to understand what is going on. But the foot is not the proper way today and during the last year I was not able to practise

and prepare myself the way I need to. So we had to take that decision, but I am confident that I will recover myself 100 per cent and I will be able to fight again for the most important things.

“I’m convinced that with the recovery of the foot and obviously a very important daily effort... this can be achieved. I will work as hard as I can to make it happen.”

Nadal, 35 and a four-time US Open champion, last won the singles title in New York in 2019. He defeated Daniil Medvedev in a five-set classic and then unusually broke down in tears courtside in his chair as he watched a commemorative video honouring his career.

But Nadal chose not to defend his title last year when the US Open was played without spectators and with significant health restrictions in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This year, after losing in the semi-finals of the French Open, Nadal did not play at Wimbledon or the Tokyo Olympics as he tried to resolve his foot problem. He returned to action in Washington this month, but his movement was clearly still affected by the

injury as he defeated Jack Sock in his opening match and then lost to Lloyd Harris in the next round.

Nadal travelled to Toronto but withdrew from the Masters 1000 event there and returned home to Spain to weigh his options.

Nadal, Federer and Djokovic, the long-time rivals, have each won 20 Grand Slam singles titles, sharing the men’s record. Djokovic will be the outright favourite to annex his 21st title, provided he is able to recover from the shoulder injury that caused him to withdraw from the bronze medal mixed doubles match at the Olympics in Tokyo.

Djokovic has won the first three legs of the Grand Slam this year: the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon.

While staying away from tennis, Nadal may actually end up enjoying his second-favourite sport — golf. According to a report on, the Spaniard has signed up for the 2021 Balearic Golf Championship in the semi-amateur group at home in Mallorca that runs this weekend, just seven days before the US Open.

Ageing ace?

Nadal’s win/loss record in last 5 years

⚫ 2021: 24-5 — 82.8%

⚫ 2020: 27-7 — 79.4%

⚫ 2019: 57-7 — 89.1%

⚫ 2018: 45-4 — 91.8%

⚫ 2017: 67-11 — 85.9%

Titles break-up in last 5 years

⚫ 2021: 2 (entries 7)

⚫ 2020: 2 (entries 6)

⚫ 2019: 4 (entries 13)

⚫ 2018: 5 (entries 9)

⚫ 2017: 6 (entries 18)

Win% in last 52 weeks

⚫ Vs top-10 players: 50%

⚫ Vs top-50 players: 69%

⚫ Vs younger players: 80.4%

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