Instead of chasing the sixth Canada Open title in Toronto this week, Rafael Nadal traveled home to Spain to discuss his further steps with doctors. The 35-year-old has been dealing with a foot injury since Roland Garros, playing only two matches following that epic semi-final loss to Novak Djokovic and gathering dark clouds above his US Open appearance.
Despite winning two titles, Rafa is yet to find his A-game in 2021, dealing with injuries since the season's opening weeks and dropping out from the top-3 for the first time since June 2017! Nadal lost to Djokovic after over four hours of excellent battle, suffering his third Roland Garros defeat and staying away from the practice court for three weeks due to foot pain.
With no time to recover and play competitive matches so quickly, Rafa withdrew from Wimbledon and the Olympic Games and made a new pre-US Open schedule.
Rafael Nadal withdrew from Toronto and Cincinnati and went back home to Spain.
Still not at 100%, Nadal decided to grab the Citi Open wild card and compete in Washington for the first time in a career ahead of Toronto.
Things were not easy for the 20-time Major winner since the first clash, as he had to stay on the court for over three hours against Jack Sock, beating the American in the deciding tie break. Suffering but refusing to surrender, Nadal prevailed in that one and hoped to compete on the following day against Lloyd Harris.
Rafa's foot looked a bit better in that one, but he failed to claim the essential points in a 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 defeat after two hours and ten minutes. The Spaniard regained his composure in the second set, securing a double break but not shifting that form into a decider, where Lloyd broke him at 5-4 to seal the deal and advance into the quarters.
Nadal went to Toronto and did a couple of training runs, preparing for another clash with Harris in the second round. The two-time defending Canada Open champion had to withdraw on Tuesday, feeling the pain and not ready to give his 100%.
Nadal withdrew from Cincinnati as well and went home to Spain to visit doctors ahead of the US Open decision. The Spaniard claimed two of the last four US Open crowns, but another title chase seems unlikely at the moment.