(Please note the UPDATES at the bottom.)
Rafael Nadal has been keeping quiet about whether or not his knee injury, (continuing tendinitis) will keep him out of the US Open in two weeks. But it’s not looking great.
Nadal’s season started out just fine. He breezed through the Australian Open before falling to Novak Djokovic in the final – not without a fight, however. The match lasted five hours and 53 minutes, making it the longest final match in Grand Slam history.
Nadal faced Djokovic again at Rolland Garros in May, but this time Rafael came out victorious. He won his seventh French Open title, surpassing Bijorn Borg’s record of six. The 26 year old ATP number three in the world was playing at his best.
Then – things got a little weird. At Wimbledon, Rafa was knocked out in the second round by Lucas Rosol, ranked 100 in the world. Nadal hadn’t failed to advance past round two in a Grand Slam tourney since he was a teenager - and he had won Wimbledon only two years prior. But everyone has their bad days – Rosol even saying, “Nadal is only human.”
The world expected Rafael to rest up for the Olympics, as he was in line to bear Spain’s flag in the opening ceremony, but not two weeks after Wimbledon, he announced that he would not be able to participate. It was made clear that the tendinitis was to blame.
It was also the cause of his absence at the Rogers Cup in Toronto and the Cincinnati Masters last week. Not only do these tournaments help to secure a players ranking, they assist in keeping them agile and in shape for the Grand Slams – i.e. the US Open. When Rafa was nowhere to be found, many became anxious, including ATP number one, Roger Federer, that he would not be prepared. (Tennis.com)
“I can’t believe he’s been out that long. I thought the Olympics, okay, that’s fine. That’s a personal choice. I thought for sure we would see him in Toronto, but now he missed Toronto and Cincinnati. It’s very surprising…So I’m sad for him. I hope he’ll be back for the US Open.”
It doesn’t seem like anyone would be safe counting on Nadal’s participation at Arthur Ashe this month. No formal statement has been made by Nadal since the Olympics, but as opening day in Queens draws nearer, the world has been abuzz about whether or not the 2011 finalist will be strong enough to compete.
Nadal made headlines last year in Flushing Meadows by making strong statements about the conditions of its courts. Throughout the tourney, pros were told to continue play, even when many believed the courts were too damp to ensure safety. Nadal was quoted as saying, “It’s the same old story, all you think about is money,” suggesting that the organizers cared more about the schedule than the well-being of the players.
If Nadal were to sit out of any tournament to protect his knee, you could probably assume it would be the US Open, since he publicly questioned its security last August before his tendinitis even flared.
Regardless, a decision must be made soon. It is likely we will hear a yea or a nay from the Spaniard by the end of the week.
On Wednesday morning, August 15th, Rafael Nadal announced that he will NOT participate in the US Open.
On his twitter, Nadal wrote: “I am very sad to announce that I am not ready to play the US Open in NY. Thanks to my fans for their support and especially, the New Yorkers.”
Wow, wow, wow. It must be worse than he is letting on. As previously noted in the blog entry, “You Have to Look Beneath the Surface, or Do You?” I went into detail about how hard courts are historically the worst on a players joints. Nadal dominates on clay, but even though he won at Ashe in 2010 and was a finalist last year, he is probably making the best decision by avoiding the DecoTurf.
Wishing the 26 year old lots of luck and a speedy recovery.
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