The 20-time Major champion Rafael Nadal had to skip Wimbledon and the Olympic Games due to a foot injury experienced in the Roland Garros semi-final to Novak Djokovic. The Spaniard could not even think about competing at the All England Club after the Roland Garros setback, staying away from the court for three weeks and not having enough time to prepare himself for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Returning to the practice court at home in Mallorca in July, Nadal decided to change his schedule and enter the City Open in Washington for the first time. The Spaniard wants to build momentum ahead of Toronto, Cincinnati and the US Open, especially after playing under 30 matches this season and a couple of injuries.
Rafa trained in Washington on Saturday and Sunday with Sebastian Korda and Grigor Dimitrov, shaping his game and waiting to compete in the American capital for the first time on Wednesday night.
Rafael Nadal explained why he had to skip Wimbledon and the Olympic Games.
In an interview he gave on Sunday, Nadal explained that he wanted to play at Wimbledon and the Olympic Games but that his body signalized it's not the wisest decision.
Seeking the 14th Roland Garros crown from 17 trips to Paris, Nadal reached the semi-final and set the clash against Novak Djokovic, their second in a couple of weeks after Rome. The Serb scored a magnificent 3-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-2 win, his 30th over Nadal in their incredible rivalry.
Rafa made a flying start and built a 5-0 lead before Novak took charge, losing the opener but bouncing back in the second. The Serb took a marathon third set in the tie break and broke Nadal's resistance, as the Spaniard struggled to find his A-game and enough energy to challenge a great rival in the fourth set.
"I have had some problems after Roland Garros, for which I could not play a couple of significant tournaments for me, such as Wimbledon and the Olympics. My body decided for myself. If I had to choose, I would never miss Wimbledon and the Olympics, but I could not compete in these events.
I had some issues with my foot and had to stop playing for 20 days. Then I started practicing, first for half an hour, and then a bit more. I went through the whole process," Rafael Nadal said.