On Friday, news broke that Rafael Nadal will miss the US Open and the remainder of the season due to a well-known foot injury. The Spanish phenomenon hasn't set an exact timing for his return to the tour, but his hope is to be fully fit by the start of 2022.
The former world number 1 has played a few tournaments this year, having had to also deal with a back injury in early 2021. The 35-year-old from Manacor still managed to lift a couple of trophies (Barcelona and Rome), but never gave the feeling of being at 100% of his chances.
At Roland Garros he hoped to score his 21st Grand Slam, but his race was interrupted in the semifinals by the unleashed Novak Djokovic. The Majorcan took two months off to recharge his batteries (giving up Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics), but that choice was not enough.
The return to Washington did not have the desired effects, with Rafa in pain since the first match against Jack Sock. In an interview with 'El Transistor' on Onda Cero, Carlos Moya provided a more detailed picture of Nadal's state of form.
Moya opens up on Rafael Nadal
"Rafael Nadal's main goal is to recover sensations in the foot and in the head, because going in fits and starts throughout the year has not helped him," Carlos Moya said. "He started with back pain in Australia, he has played only seven events this year.
He missed Wimbledon, the Olympics and now the US Open and the Masters. That's why we should not look at what is happening on the circuit and concentrate on him," he added. "The best thing was to stop, rest the foot and refresh the head and ideas to do good training and arrive fresh to 2022."
According to the coach, Nadal's pain reached a point where he couldn't take it any longer. "When he was diagnosed he was told that he could not compete anymore but with insoles and treatments he has been able to save it," Moya said.
"But this year the story has changed; in many trainings he could not finish them and we have had to change and reduce the intensity for the foot keeping the tournaments in mind. He has been in pain for months and there comes a time when he couldn't take it anymore," Moya added.
"In the last match, he played practically lame." After expecting to make a strong comeback in the North American circuit, Nadal did not really live up to it. His body was not cooperating with him and he had to listen to his body. As a result of a long-term approach, Nadal decided to miss out on the remainder of 2021.