Like Roger Federer and Dominic Thiem, the 20-time Major winner Rafael Nadal decided to make a radical move and skip the remaining action of the 2021 season! The Mallorca native has been dealing with foot pain for a year now (in fact, it has been bothering him for 16 years), and it got worst during the Roland Garros semi-final against Novak Djokovic in June.
Missing the next three weeks, Nadal tried to bounce back and compete despite the pain, playing two matches in Washington before realizing that he can not do much without getting back at 100%, skipping the rest of the season and hoping for a strong start in 2022.
Thus, the Spaniard has failed to win a Major for the first time since 2016, suffering tough losses at the Australian Open and Roland Garros and withdrawing from Wimbledon and the upcoming US Open. Nadal has been dealing with injuries since the beginning of the season, hurting his back in Adelaide in January and not competing at the ATP Cup.
Starting the season at the Australian Open, Rafa beat four rivals in straight sets before wasting two sets to love advantage versus Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarters. After almost two months, Nadal returned to action in Monte Carlo and suffered the quarter-final defeat to Andrey Rublev, who outplayed him in sets one and three.
Rafa claimed the season's first title in Barcelona after fending off a match point against Tsitsipas in that epic final before experiencing the quarter-final loss at home in Madrid to Alexander Zverev.
Rafael Nadal will not play in the rest of 2021.
Nadal's 36th Masters 1000 crown came in Rome over Novak Djokovic, and those rivals met in the Roland Garros semi-final a few weeks later.
This time, Djokovic had the upper hand and toppled Nadal after four hours and 11 minutes, with Rafa clearly struggling with his movement in the fourth set. After that, the Spaniard tested his foot with two matches in Washington, still feeling the pain and withdrawing from Toronto and Cincinnati.
As was expected, Nadal announced the US Open withdrawal on Friday, staying away from New York and the rest of the season to cure his foot and make a fresh start in 2022. "Hello, everyone. I wanted to inform you that, unfortunately, I have to end the 2021 season.
Honestly, I've been suffering a lot more than I should with my foot for a year, and I need to take some time to recover. I made this decision with my team and family, and I believe that it is the way forward in trying to recover and play injury-free," Rafael Nadal said.