The 20-time Major champion Rafael Nadal decided to take a wild card in Washington and compete at this prestigious ATP 500 event in the first week of August. The Spaniard suffered a tough Roland Garros semi-final loss to Novak Djokovic and didn't want to compete at Wimbledon and the Olympic Games to recover and get ready for the season's closing stages.
Thus, Nadal will compete at the Citi Open for the first time in a career, hoping to join Rosewall, Roche, Ashe, Vilas, Connors, Lendl, Agassi, Edberg, Chang, Roddick, Hewitt and del Potro on the list of champions. Rafa decided to skip Wimbledon for the first time since 2016 after playing a lot on clay this spring and losing energy.
After failing to reach the final in Melbourne and Paris, Rafa will throw everything on the US Open, hoping for another deep run at a Major where he claimed two titles in the past four years. Speaking about Washington, Nadal said that he can't wait to get back on the court, especially at an event where he never played before.
Last year, Nadal didn't travel to the USA for Cincinnati and the US Open, looking eager to play in front of the American fans again in 20 days. Rafa is still ranked in the top-3, winning two titles in 2021 and suffering some heavy losses.
The Spaniard made a slower start due to a back injury experienced in Adelaide in January, skipping the ATP Cup and reaching the Australian Open quarter-final.
Rafael Nadal will compete in Washington for the first time in August.
He wasted two sets to love advantage against Stefanos Tsitsipas for a massive defeat, one of his most challenging at Majors.
Nadal returned in Monte Carlo and experienced the quarter-final loss to Andrey Rublev in three sets. Battling against Tsitsipas again in Barcelona, Rafa saved a match point in a memorable final that lasted three hours and 38 minutes and lifted the first trophy since Roland Garros last fall.
Alexander Zverev ousted Nadal at home in Madrid before the Spaniard bounced back in Rome, fending off a match point against Denis Shapovalov and beating Novak Djokovic in the title clash for the 36th Masters 1000 crown. At Roland Garros, the 13-time champion allowed only the third defeat in Paris since making a debut in 2005!
Rafa lost to Djokovic in the semis after four hours and 11 minutes of outstanding tennis, wasting too much energy and opting to skip Wimbledon and the Olympic Games to recharge batteries. Nadal's main rivals in Washington should be Denis Shapovalov, Alex de Minaur, Hubert Hurkacz, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Milos Raonic, Jannik Sinner, Reilly Opelka, John Isner and Nick Kyrgios.
"I'm very excited to come to Washington for the first time. I have never been there, and it's one more place I wanted to come and play. I'm looking forward to playing again, and Washington shall be the best start for the American summer swing for me," Rafael Nadal said.