Rafael Nadal’s Grand Slam count will stay stuck at 11 for now, sidetracked by another knee problem.
The third-ranked Spaniard withdrew from the US Open on Wednesday. Tendinitis has kept him out of action since his stunning loss at Wimbledon in late June.
The injury already forced him out of the London Olympics, where he was supposed to defend his title and carry Spain’s flag in the opening ceremony.
“I am very sad to announce that I am not ready to play the US Open in NY. Thanks to my fans for their support and specially, the new yorkers,” Nadal wrote on his Twitter account.
Nadal is still only 26, but the withdrawals raise questions about the future of a player who has had recurring knee problems in the past.
His 11 Grand Slam titles include a record seven on the red clay of the French Open, yet his hard-charging, hard-hitting style of play takes a toll on his body, particularly his knees.
Roger Federer, in contrast, has played in every Grand Slam tournament since the start of 2000, a streak of 51 in a row.
“Well, not a surprise, because I wrote him and he told me it wasn’t looking good at all,” Federer said after his opening match of the Western & Southern Open. “I kind of knew, saw it coming. But obviously when it’s official, it’s disappointing for tennis, there’s no doubt about it. I would love to have him in the draw. In particular, sort of the 12 days before the Open, you figure he might still have time to fix what he has to fix to get ready. If he pulls out that early before the Open, it must be something serious.”
“That’s what is sort of scary. There is obviously the whole debate going on if he is going to come back for this year. I hope he will. He’s definitely got some more weeks off now because of it. I hope in hindsight this is a very smart decision by him. But it’s obviously a big blow and disappointing news for the tennis world,” Federer said.
In 2009, Nadal missed Wimbledon because of aching knees shortly after falling in the round of 16 at the French Open — the only time in eight appearances he has not won at Roland Garros. He was just the second men’s champion in 35 years to decline to defend his title at the All England Club.