Roger Federer injured his left groin at Wimbledon 2001, reaching the quarter-final but missing all the action between Gstaad and the US Open that summer. Thus, Federer skipped the Canada Open and Cincinnati, the pre-US Open Masters 1000 events, before returning to action in New York and losing to Andre Agassi in the fourth round.
For the next two decades, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic (at least one of them) were always in the draw of those two Masters 1000 events, all until 2021! For the first time in 20 years, no one from the 'Big 3' will compete at the most prestigious pre-US Open tournaments, with all three deciding to take some rest ahead of the season's last Major.
Currently, Novak is the only confirmed player for the US Open, with Federer and Nadal dealing with injuries and visiting doctors before deciding on the New York trip. Novak has won all three Majors so far in 2021, becoming the first player since Rod Laver in 1969 to achieve that and setting eyes on the calendar Grand Slam at the US Open.
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will not play ahead of the US Open.
In February, Djokovic won his ninth Australian Open, gathering momentum and throwing everything on matching Federer's and Nadal's Major tally.
After over four hours, the Serb toppled the Spaniard in the Roland Garros semi-final and defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final from two sets to love down to claim the second title in Paris. Novak was the player to beat at Wimbledon, and he claimed the sixth All England Club trophy after dropping two sets in seven encounters.
Risking a bit, Novak went to Tokyo and fought for his first Olympic gold medal, only to leave empty-handed after tough losses against Alexander Zverev and Pablo Carreno Busta. Dealing with slight shoulder pain, Novak took a couple of weeks off and skipped Toronto and Cincinnati, enjoying time in Montenegro and recharging batteries ahead of the US Open.
Rafael Nadal still deals with a foot injury that has bothered him for the last two months, staying away from the practice court for three weeks after Roland Garros and missing Wimbledon and Tokyo. The Spaniard returned to action in Washington, making the Citi Open debut and losing to Lloyd Harris in the third round.
Doing his best to compete in Toronto, Rafa traveled to Canada but decided to withdraw and skip that event and Cincinnati. The Spaniard went home and will see doctors ahead of the US Open decision. Roger Federer is also in doubt for the season's last Major after an ongoing knee injury plagued his game for the past 18 months.
Federer reached the quarter-final at Wimbledon and experienced a bagel against Hubert Hurkacz, still dealing with the pain and missing the pre-US Open Masters 1000 events.