Rafael Nadal is joining his tennis rival Roger Federer on the sidelines. The Spaniard announced on Friday that he is forced to end his 2021 season prematurely due to an injury.
As a result, Nadal will miss US Open and a chance to break a tie with Federer and Novak Djokovic for most Grand Slam titles in men’s singles.
“I am very sorry to announce that I will not be able to keep playing tennis during the 2021 season. But as you know I have been suffering too much with my foot for the past year,” said Nadal in a video clip posted on Instagram.
According to Nadal, the foot injury prevented him from training and preparing for competitive tennis as he used to. With this in mind, he decided to focus on recovering in full for the next season.
“But I am confident that I will recover 100 percent and I will be able to fight again for the most important things,” he added.
Despite the injury, Nadal won tournaments in Barcelona and Rome this season. However, he wasn’t at his best at French Open, where he was dominant for years, and ended up being eliminated by Djokovic, who went on to win the tournament.
With both Nadal and Federer out of the picture, Djokovic is now the overwhelming favorite to win US Open.