The US Open lost some more star power Friday — Rafael Nadal is gone, undone by a chronic foot injury that will sideline him for the rest of the season.
His announcement further depletes the year’s last major tennis tournament, with Roger Federer already out as well as last year’s champion, Dominic Thiem.
Nadal’s absence also clears one more possible hurdle for Novak Djokovic, who now resumes his bid for a calendar-year Grand Slam without one of his longtime rivals in the men’s draw at Flushing Meadows.
“I am very sorry to announce that I won’t be able to keep playing tennis during the 2021 season,” Nadal said in a video on social media. “
But, as you know, I have been suffering too much with my foot for the last year now and I missed a lot of important events for me.”
Federer needs knee surgery and said last weekend he would not play in New York. Thiem said this week he is ending his season after injuring his right wrist in June.
Nadal, Federer and Djokovic share the men’s record of 20 Grand Slam singles titles.
Djokovic, in addition to the Grand Slam pursuit, will now be trying to move ahead of his rivals. He won the Australian Open in February, the French Open in June and Wimbledon in July.
Nadal and Federer also both sat out the U.S. Open last year — Nadal because of the pandemic; Federer because he had two operations on his right knee in 2020.—AP