Rafael Nadal announced on Friday that he will be out for the rest of the 2021 season due to a foot injury, and will thus be unable to compete in this month’s US Open, the year’s final tennis grand slam.
The world No. 4 said in a statement on social media that he had been suffering “much more than I should” from a foot injury, and that ending his 2021 season was “the way forward to recover and recover well.”
The Spaniard, who has won a record-tying 20 grand slam titles, announced in June that he would skip Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics in order to “prolong my career and continue to do what makes me happy.”
Nadal’s most recent appearance on a tennis court was at the Citi Open in Washington, DC, earlier this month, where he was upset in the round of 16 by Lloyd Harris of South Africa.
His announcement comes just days after Roger Federer announced that he would miss the US Open as well due to another knee surgery that will keep him out for “many months.”
Dominic Thiem, the defending champion, also withdrew from Flushing Meadows and will miss the rest of the season due to a wrist injury.
The 27-year-old star said on Wednesday that his injury from the Mallorca Open in June, which was his last tournament before withdrawing from Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics earlier this summer, is still bothering him.
In the absence of Nadal, Federer, and Thiem, Djokovic’s path to a memorable calendar slam — winning all four grand slams in the same calendar year — appears to be clearer.
The Serbian, who is also chasing a record-breaking 21st grand slam singles title, was denied a historic golden slam in men’s tennis at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, where he would have won all four grand slams and an Olympic gold medal in the semi finals.
If he wins in New York, he will become the first man in men’s singles tennis to complete a calendar slam since Rod Laver in 1969.
The US Open is set to begin on August 30 and run through September 12 in New York this year.