Rafael Nadal is preparing to return to the field in Washington, where he will make his all-time debut this week. The former world number 1 did not set foot on the pitch from Roland Garros when he was defeated in the semifinals by Novak Djokovic.
The Spanish phenomenon did not take part in either Wimbledo or the Tokyo Olympics, a choice most likely dictated by some physical problem. At 35, the 20-time Grand Slam champion has to pay close attention to his body to avoid getting injured.
His big goal is now the US Open, a tournament that has seen him triumph on four occasions. Rafa can also prevent Novak Djokovic from achieving the Grand Slam, as the Serbian has won the top three majors of the season with full merit.
The Majorcan should compete in the Masters 1000 in Toronto and Cincinnati, so as to present himself in 100% form at Flushing Meadows. In the traditional pre-tournament press conference, Rafa returned to the choice of giving up Wimbledon and the Olympic Games.
Nadal on Djokovic's displays of anger
"Playing in Washington allows me to be on the tour one week before than what I do usually for this part of the season," Rafael Nadal said. "But missing Wimbledon, I think that's the right thing to do.
The decision I think is the right one. Super happy to be here," he added. "[The] tournament organisation is doing amazing." When asked whether he thinks Novak Djokovic can complete the Calendar Slam this year, Rafael Nadal asserted that it was very much possible.
"What he achieved this year is something, well, amazing," Nadal said. "I definitely believe that he can do it, without a doubt." During his Washington presser Rafael Nadal was also asked for his thoughts on his arch-rival's displays of anger.
"Luckily there were no people in the stands and nothing else happened, but these are things that happen from time to time," Nadal said. "You have to try to avoid them. The image is not the best. It is important to avoid this type of situation, and more if you are a reference for many children.
In the end he is number one in the world and one of the best in history," Nadal said. "It is strange that someone, being so successful, reacts in this way from time to time, but in the end he is very competitive and reacts like this."
After the French Open semifinal loss, Nadal will mark his return to the ATP tour at Citi Open 2021. As the top-seeded player of the tournament, the Spaniard has received a bye for the first round. Thus, he will take on the winner between Jack Sock and Yoshihito Nishioka in the second round.