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Rafael Nadal Withdraws From US Open, Ends 2021 Season Due to Foot Injury

Rafael Nadal joins fellow former US Open champions Roger Federer, Stan Wawrink and Dominic Thiem withdrawing from the Flushing Meadows major. EPA-EFE/JIM LO SCALZO

Rafael Nadal’s 2021 season is over as the US Open field loses another former champion.

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

“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 recovery myself 100 percent and will be able to fight again for the most important things.”

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.