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By Richard Pagliaro | Friday, August 20, 2021


A left foot injury has forced Rafael Nadal to step out of the US Open and pull the plug on his 2021 season.

Photo credit: US Open Facebook

Rafael Nadal's 2021 season is over.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion has stepped out of this month's US Open and pulled the plug on the season due to a chronic left foot injury.

More: Can Anyone Stop Djokovic from Grand Slam?

"Hello everyone: I am very sorry to announce that I will not be able to keep playing tennis during the 2021 season," Nadal announced in a video on social media. "But as you know I have been suffering too much with my foot for the last year now. I misssed a lot of important events for me like the US Open now, like Wimbledon, Olympics and many other events that are so important and emotional for me. 

"So after coming back from Toronto I take a couple of days to think about it. I needed to talk to my family, to my team and especially to my doctor to understand what's going on. The foot is not the proper way today. During the last year I was not able to practice and prepare myself the way I need to be competitive at the standards I want to be.

"So we had to take that decision but I am confident I will recover myself 100 percent and will be able to fight again for the most important things."


A post shared by Rafa Nadal (@rafaelnadal)

The 35-year-old Spaniard has endured issues with his left foot since 2005 when a 19-year-old Nadal became the first man since Mats Wilander in 1982 to win Roland Garros in his main-draw debut. Nadal missed the start of the 2006 season due to the injury and in his biography, Rafa, revealed he sometimes required a pain-killer injection to numb his left foot and permit him to play.

Nadal's withdrawal, which comes after five-time US Open champion Roger Federer pulled out due to knee surgery, reigning champion Dominic Thiem was forced out due to a right wrist injury, gives Novak Djokovic a clearer path to completing history.

The 40-year-old Federer, Nadal and Thiem combined to capture 10 of the last 17 US Open titles with three-time champion Djokovic, Juan Martin del Potro, Andy Murray, Marin Cilic and Stan Wawrinka combining for the other seven Flushing Meadows titles in that span. Wawrinka, the 2016 US Open champion, previously withdrew from Flushing Meadows continuing his recovery from left foot surgery, which means Djokovic, Murray and Cilic will be the only former US Open champions in the men's field.

World No. 1 Djokovic is bidding to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to complete the calendar Grand Slam. If the Serbian completes the Grand Slam he will capture his 21st Grand Slam crown to break the all-time men's major mark he shares with Big 3 rivals Nadal and Federer.

The US Open begins on August 30th. Italian Salvatore Caruso replaces Nadal in the draw.

Nadal's last hard-court win over Djokovic came in the 2013 US Open final. In his last Flushing Meadows appearance, Nadal out-dueled Daniil Medvedev to collect his fourth US Open championship. Nadal has won 19 of his last 20 US Open matches capturing the title in two of his last three appearances at Arthur Ashe Stadium, which he calls the “most energetic tennis stadium in the world.”

Two-time Olympic gold-medal champion Nadal vows he will recovery and return recharged.

"The injury is nothing new. It's the same injury I've been having since 2005," Nadal said. "In that moment, the doctors were very negative about my future career. I've been able to have a career that I never dreamed about. So I am confident I will recover again the foot and if the foot is better I am confident that my tennis and my mentality will be there again soon.

"The only thing you can be sure I am gonnna fight every single day to make that happen... I hope to see you soon. I want to say thanks in advance to all the fans for all the messages especially during these hard moments all the messages are helpful."


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