After overcoming fears for his future in the sport due to a lingering foot injury, it was a cruel blow when Rafael Nadal was forced to withdraw from his 2022 Wimbledon semi-final against Nick Kyrgios with a leg injury. the abdomen which prevented the 36-year-old from moving. freely.
Nadal had looked on track to continue his Grand Slam charge at SW19, continuing the scintillating form with which he won the Australian and French titles.
In the absence of his two rival dominant forces in the modern men’s game, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, Nadal can also extend his record of singles titles if he participates in Flushing Meadows.
With the final blockbuster tournament of the year looming, here are Nadal’s chances of competing.
Does Rafael Nadal play at the US Open?
Nadal is playing the US Open as the second seed behind defending champion Daniil Medvedev, who returns to the Grand Slam after missing Wimbledon because the tournament imposed a ban on Russian and Belarusian players following the war in Ukraine.
Rafael Nadal’s next game
World number three Nadal will face a man 195 places below him when he takes on Australian Rinky Hijikata in the first round on August 29.
Had Nadal been asked to list his favorite opening opponents, 21-year-old Hijikata, who has never been in the main draw before, almost certainly would have been on the list.
The wider draw also looks generous for Nadal. 22-seeded Frances Tiafoe could be her most dangerous early test in round four.
Rafael Nadal’s record at the US Open
A far cry from the clay court of Roland-Garros on which he almost invariably excels, New York is Nadal’s most successful Grand Slam.
Four-set wins over Djokovic in the 2010 and 2013 finals preceded a straight-set win over Kevin Anderson in 2017 that ended Nadal’s nearly four-year wait for a hard-court title.
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Medvedev gave Nadal arguably his toughest test on his way to eventual tournament glory, reacting to losing the first two sets of the final in 2019 by winning the next two. Nadal won the final set 6-4.
Nadal first appeared at the US Open in 2003, reached the quarter-finals for the first time in 2006 – the only time he has lost so far – and made the last four three times.
His only loss in five finals was in 2011, when Nadal was swept away by Djokovic in four sets.
Nadal’s 22 Grand Slam titles puts him one ahead of Djokovic and two ahead of Federer, whose injury troubles mean the Swiss is almost retired.
Even if it’s not a priority, Nadal will no doubt be aware that he can go further ahead of Djokovic now that his closest rival has been denied permission to play at the US Open because he does not did not receive a Covid vaccine, as did the high-profile case at the Australian Open.
Nadal capitalized by winning this tournament, then beat Djokovic in the quarter-finals before triumphing at Roland Garros.
What are Rafael Nadal’s injuries?
The sight of Nadal looking sullen or grimacing as he contemplates trying to complete another match due to injury is almost as familiar as the tennis icon celebrating wins.
The list of Grand Slam tournaments in which Nadal has not been injured is much shorter than those in which he has played in full form, and this is a testament to his courage and conditioning which he often played on anyway. .
Knee, wrist and foot injuries were his most common issues at the US Open, with a knee issue forcing him to withdraw from the semi-finals of the 2018 tournament.
Juan Martin del Potro defeated Nadal in the 2009 US Open semifinals as his victim suffered a torn abdominal muscle. He suffered a hamstring injury in Melbourne in 2011, followed by a back problem in the tournament three years later.
Nadal’s most worrying affliction has been Mueller-Weiss syndrome, a pain in his arch due to which he missed the end of the 2021 season.
It was unclear whether Nadal’s talk of retiring in October 2021 was a sign of frustration or a genuine threat from a player who was thought to still have plenty of titles ahead of him.
It made the fans even more excited when Nadal returned in such style in 2022. Finishing the Grand Slam schedule with a long run at the US Open would be another sure sign of Nadal’s determination to keep gracing the game. despite regular obstacles. .