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Big Problems for Big 3: Nadal Withdraws from Toronto, Djokovic and Federer out of Cincinnati

Rafael Nadal from Spain reacts as he plays against Lloyd Harris from South Africa during their third round men’s singles match of the Citi Open ATP tennis tournament at the Rock Creek Park Tennis Center in Washington, DC, USA, 05 August 2021. EPA-EFE/JIM LO SCALZO



By Ricky Dimon


There will be no Rafael Nadal vs. Lloyd Harris rematch at the National Bank Open. Nadal won’t be playing against anyone else, either.

The fourth-ranked Spaniard announced his withdrawal from Toronto on Tuesday, citing a left-foot injury that has plagued him since the French Open and contributed to his Washington, D.C. second-round loss to Harris last week.

“I have had this issue for a couple of months, as people know,” Nadal explained. “Of course it is not a happy situation after all the success that I had here in Canada, not being able to play this year after missing a year. It’s a tough one, but that’s how it is today. I need to go back and try to find a way to be better again. At the end of the day, for me the most important thing is to enjoy playing tennis. Today, with this pain, I am not able to enjoy it and I really don’t believe that I have the chance to fight for the things that I really need to fight for.

“I really wanted to play here a lot, but now is the moment to make a decision. This is unfortunately the decision that I have taken, and probably in the next couple of days we are going to know more.”

The 20-time Grand Slam champion still has the Cincinnati Masters and the U.S. Open on his summer schedule, although those are obviously dependent on how his foot heals.

Meanwhile, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have already announced their withdrawals from Cincinnati–both doing so earlier this week.

Federer has not played since losing to Hubert Hurkacz in straight sets in the Wimbledon quarter-finals. The 40-year-old Swiss is sidelined by a recurring knee problem. Djokovic, who missed out on an Olympic medal and is apparently dealing with a shoulder issue, posted the following on social media:

Novak Djokovic of Serbia leaves the court after his loss to Alexander Zverev of Germany at the Men’s Singles Semifinal Tennis events of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo, Japan, 30 July 2021. EPA-EFE/RUNGROJ YONGRIT

“Dear fans, I wanted to share with you that I am taking a bit longer to recover and recuperate after quite a taxing journey from Australia to Tokyo. Sadly, that means I won’t be ready to compete in Cincinnati this year so I’ll turn my focus and attention to US Open and spend some more time with family. See you in New York soon!”

Both Federer and Djokovic had previously pulled out of the Toronto Masters.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.