Rafael Nadal hasn't set foot on the pitch since the Roland Garros semi-final, when he bowed to Novak Djokovic, making up for his third overall defeat in the Parisian Grand Slam. The Spanish champion has decided to give up both Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics, with the intention of recharging his batteries for the season on hard courts.
The former world number 1 did not appear in top condition in the key stages of the French Open, a feeling that many have interpreted as the main reason behind these two months of stoppage. The 20-time Grand Slam champion is set to return to the field in Washington DC next week, in what represents his all-time debut in the US capital.
The Majorcan's goal is to reach 100% form for the start of the US Open, where he is the main suspect to prevent Novak Djokovic from achieving the 'Calendar Grand Slam' Rafa will have several points to defend in the next month, having also been the last winner of the Canadian Open in 2019.
Just before flying to Washington for the prestigious ATP 500, one of Nadal's coaches - Francisco Roig - expressed his feelings. his sensations on the eve of the American swing.
Roig opens up on Rafael Nadal
While Rafael Nadal spent time recovering in his hometown, Mallorca, Novak Djokovic was busy winning titles.
Recording one feat after another, he first won the 2021 Wimbledon Championship and then set out on a quest for gold at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as well. Missing out on both these tournaments that his counterpart triumphed makes a comeback tricky but does not limit Rafael.
Speaking of the same, Francisco Roig said, “Rafa has not played for a long time and it is not easy for him. He trains great, he’s in good shape overall. I think he can beat Djokovic at the US Open”. Citi Open chairman, Mark Ein, recently spoke about the buzz generated by Rafael Nadal's forthcoming participation in Washington.
Ein also revealed the steps it took to attract Nadal to the event for the first time in his career. "It is indescribable (Rafael Nadal making his debut in Washington)," Mark Ein said. "I mean the level of interest in this event in unprecedented in our five decades of this tournament.
The whole town is buzzing, our community is buzzing. Tickets have been sold out the minute they went on sale. The extra that we could put on sale, went on sale. And we have a waiting list of 15,000 people who want to come. I think that's indicative of the amount of interest there is in seeing this great icon of our game in Washington for the first time."