Unsurprisingly, Rafael Nadal also withdrew from Cincinnati, skipping the third Masters 1000 event of the season. The 35-year-old had to interrupt practice sessions for three weeks after Roland Garros, missing Wimbledon and the Olympics and testing his foot in Washington last week.
In his first game at the Citi Open, Nadal prevailed over Jack Sock in the decisive tiebreaker after more than three hours, feeling the pain but refusing to give up. In the third round, Rafa lost to Lloyd Harris 6-4, 1-6, 6-4, feeling better on the court but failing to bring his best game to the decisive points.
The Spaniard regained his composure in the second set, securing a double break but not changing that form to a decisive one, where Lloyd broke it at 5-4 to seal the deal and advance to the quarters. Nadal went to Toronto and did a couple of workouts, preparing for another clash with Harris in the second round.
The two-time defending Canadian Open champion had to retire on Tuesday, feeling the pain and not playing in his prime. Nadal was hard to wait for in the Cincinnati draw, and he decided to skip next week as well, hoping to improve before the US Open that begins in late August.
Rafael Nadal also withdrew from Cincinnati
Two-time defending champion Rafael Nadal will not get the opportunity to make it three consecutive titles in Canada. The foot issue has actually been bothering him ever since his loss to Novak Djokovic in the Roland Garros semifinals.
"I have had this issue for a couple of months, as people know," Nadal said. "Yeah, of course is not a happy situation after all the success that I had here in Canada, not be able to play this year after missing a year."
In a separate flash interview with the tournament's website, Rafael Nadal claimed that his left foot made him "suffer" on the court during his Washington second-round match. "People who follow tennis, watched on TV, I was suffering, especially in that first match (in Washington)," Nadal said.
"And I was suffering on the practices, too, but you always expect an improvement or you hope for improvement, and that's why I came here. And this improvement didn't happen, no? So I really believe that I am not able to compete at the level that I need because the foot don't allow me to move the way that I need," he added.
After the French Open 2021 semifinal loss, Nadal took a break from the tennis circuit. Later on, he revealed that he had also been recovering from his foot injury. Although he played in Washington with injured feet, he couldn’t go deep and crashed out in the third round. After that match, he stated that his foot has improved; however, that is certainly not the case.