20-time Major winner Rafael Nadal has won at least one Grand Slam title in the previous four seasons, bouncing back after two tough seasons and coming back in his prime. At the moment, the Spaniard's chances of extending the streak are slim, wasting his chances at the Australian Open and Roland Garros and skipping Wimbledon with a foot injury.
Rafa claimed two US Open titles between 2017 and 2019, very capable of beating them all in New York, but probably not in 2021, as he is still unable to add up to intense practice sessions due to that ongoing injury. Likewise, Rafa has signed for the 2021 Balearic Golf Championship in the semi-amateur group at home in Mallorca that takes place this weekend, just seven days before the US Open.
Instead of final preparations on the practice court, the no. 4 will enjoy his second favorite sport, probably without much thought about the trip to New York, since he still can't compete at or near 100%. Nadal has won two ATP titles in 2021, but cannot be happy with his results, mainly due to injuries.
In February, Rafa skipped the ATP Cup due to a back injury and gave his best at the Australian Open before blowing a huge lead against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarterfinals. Taking a break, the Spaniard returned to his beloved clay and lost the Monte Carlo quarterfinal match to Andrey Rublev in three sets, outscored by the young rival.
Nadal bounced back in Barcelona, fending off a match point in a memorable final against Stefanos Tsitsipas that lasted nearly three hours and 40 minutes and celebrated his first title since October last year.
Amitraj opens up on Rafael Nadal
Prakash Amitraj recently gave his thoughts on the withdrawals of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal from the rest of the 2021 season.
Drawing parallels between the two players' respective injury layoffs, Amritraj claimed that Nadal's recovery to full fitness would likely be easier than Federer's. "Rafa, it's the foot," Amritraj said.
"I saw him up close in DC, it was bothering him there. He still fought really hard, very impressive as he always is. I think it was a more managable injury. Listen, Rafa's made it very clear, he put out a statement saying I'm going to do whatever it takes to get myself in a position to compete for what motivates me the most," Amitraj added.
Nadal is currently tied with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, all of whom have 20 Grand Slams each. "We know exactly what that is, they're the Grand Slams," Amritraj said. "He's won everything in the sport, he's a gold medalist, 20 Grand Slams, but a couple of other guys got 20 too.
So I think, he's very motivated to get back out there. When the Spanish bull is motivated, I'm not one to bet against him."