Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal had to miss the second consecutive US Open 2021, both due to injury. The Swiss champion will undergo knee surgery for the third time in the past year and a half, after playing just 13 matches in all of 2021.
Many problems also for the Spaniard, who has experienced a troubled season due to back problems and especially to the foot. The 35-year-old from Manacor tried to return to the field in Washington, but it was immediately evident that the pain had not disappeared.
A few days later, the 13-time Roland Garros winner announced his forfeit in New York and ended his year prematurely. If we add to the absences of Roger and Rafa those of Serena and Venus Williams, it is not difficult to understand that we are witnessing the end of an era.
In a press conference after beating Martina Trevisan in the second round, Belinda Bencic - fresh from the extraordinary triumph at the Tokyo Olympics - expressed her opinion on the complicated situation of Federer and Nadal.
Bencic talks about Federer and Nadal
She said: "Obviously I hope that Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will be able to return to the circuit soon. However, I cannot answer this question with certainty, it should be asked of those directly concerned.
I personally hope with all my heart to see Roger on the pitch again. I am quite optimistic about it, also because I know how much he is in love with tennis. All that remains is to wait and hope that things go well." Without Federer and Wawrinka, the spotlight is all on Bencic.
The Swiss added: "I don't feel too much pressure, there are four Swiss players in the main draw of these US Open. I'm not the only one who has the opportunity to do well. For sure, I am very happy and proud to keep the Swiss name high in tournaments where Roger and Stan are missing."
Recall that there is not even the outgoing champion of the men's tournament, namely Dominic Thiem, still in the pits due to a wrist injury.