US Open Tennis Preview: Nadal’s Withdrawal Opens The Field
With the 2014 US Open set to begin on Monday, August 25, there is an unusual sense of ambiguity among the Men’s Singles draw due to the withdrawal of Rafael Nadal.
After missing two tournaments in Cincinnati and Montreal, Rafael Nadal decided to withdraw from the US Open due to his wrist injury. Nadal suffered a wrist injury on July 29 in training and he still has not fully recovered.
Nadal announced his withdrawal via Facebook: “I am very sorry to announce I won’t be able to play at this year’s US Open, a tournament on which I’ve played three consecutive finals in my last participations. I am sure you understand that it is a very tough moment for me since it is a tournament I love and where I have great memories from fans, the night matches, so many things… Not much more I can do right now, other than accept the situation and, as always in my case, work hard in order to be able to compete at the highest level once I am back.”
Withdrawing from tournaments has been a prevalent problem for Nadal over the past few years on tour. In 2011, knee tendinitis kept Nadal off the courts at the Billie Jean King Tennis Center. For a perennial champion with prowess like Nadal, it can be quite difficult to give up an opportunity to play under the lights at the biggest tennis venue in the world, Arthur Ashe Stadium.
For American tennis fans, there is growing fear that John Isner, ranked 13th among men’s singles players, will not be healed to play at the US Open. Isner injured his left ankle at a warm-up tournament, the Winston-Salem Open at Wake Forest. Isner fought through his match against Mikhail Kukushkin, despite the ongoing pain from his ankle. Even though he went on to beat Kukushkin in his third round matchup, 6-1, 7-6 (7-3), Isner knew that the risk of forging on at the Winston-Salem Open was not worth the reward.
During his news conference at the Wake Forest Tennis Center, Isner stated, “I can’t risk further injury with the U.S. Open right around the corner. It was pretty uncomfortable doing even minimal stretching on it. I didn’t see the benefit of taking the court.” The American hopeful is set to face off against NCAA Singles Champion, Marcos Giron of UCLA in the first round at the US Open. Isner hopes to take his powerful serve deep into the tournament for the first time since 2011, when he was a quarterfinalist.
Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer seek to capitalize on the abundant injuries amongst other top ranked men. At Wimbledon in July, Novak Djokovic beat Roger Federer in the final. Roger Federer, 33, seems to be fading into darkness. Although he is ranked second at this year’s US Open, most do not consider Federer to be a favorite in Flushing Meadows, New York.
On the other hand, Novak Djokovic is in the prime stage of his career. Djokovic is seeking his second US Open championship trophy. Djokovic has reached the final in the past three years at the US Open, but has not won since 2011, when Nadal was injured and withdrew. The ominous stage is set for the men’s Singles Draw. For now, tennis fans must remain on the edge of their seat, as a tournament filled with excitement is set to begin on Monday.
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