For the first time in two decades, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have all withdrawn from the Canada Open and Cincinnati. While Novak is recharging batteries following the Olympic Games in Tokyo, his older rivals Nadal and Federer are not in a very comfortable position.
The Swiss has been dealing with a knee injury for over a year and a half, undergoing two surgeries last year and preparing for another these days after failing to take the pain away. On the other hand, Nadal's foot has been bothering him since the Roland Garros semi-final, skipping three weeks of practicing and withdrawing from Wimbledon and the Olympic Games.
Nadal returned to action in Washington and played two matches to test his foot and gather more information ahead of Toronto and Cincinnati.
Andy Murray spoke about his great rivals in Cincinnati.
As it turned out, the pain is still there, and the Spaniard went home to Spain to see doctors ahead of the US Open decision.
Their rival and a three-time Major winner Andy Murray feels strange without Federer, Nadal and Djokovic in Cincinnati, especially after battling against them for the trophies in the past. Speaking about Federer and Nadal, Murray admitted it would be a shame if they both skip the US Open, although he understands more than anyone how tough it is to deal with physical issues.
The Briton has been struggling since 2017, finishing the previous season as world no. 1 and never reaching that level again due to persistent hip and groin issues. "It's a different landscape; for almost all of my career, those guys have been there.
But things are changing. Bodies are breaking down instead of top players being overtaken by tennis progress. It gives a significant opportunity for other players to win the title when those guys are not playing. I hope all of them get physically fit and ready for the US Open.
But that is looking unlikely, unfortunately, for Roger and Rafa. It would be a shame if they missed the Open this year. My future depends on how my body feels. It was feeling good up to Wimbledon and in the buildup to the Olympics, but then things slowed again.
I'm hoping to feel good here in Cincinnati. I can not say with any certainty that I'll be feeling good over the next months or weeks," Andy Murray said.