New York (AFP)
Veteran Spaniard Rafael Nadal aims to enhance his record and win his 23rd major title, when he competes in the US Open “Flushing Meadows” in tennis, without competition from his Serbian rival, Novak Djokovic, who was again deprived of a major tournament for refusing to receive the vaccine against the Corona virus. .
After 19 years of starting, Nadal, 36, is dragging a body that has suffered multiple injuries, especially in his foot, to participate in a tournament that culminated in the 2010, 2013, 2017 and 2019 titles, the date of his last appearance.
The Mallorca native has had to miss four times during his thriving career, and there are new doubts about his physical ability to have a tough two weeks at Flushing Meadows.
Since abdominal surgery kept him out of the Wimbledon semi-final against Australian Kyrgios, Nadal played an orphan one time, losing to Croatian Borna Coric at the Cincinnati Masters.
“I have to look forward and start thinking about the energy that the fans in New York give us,” said Nadal, who has won two of the three major titles this year, at Australia and Roland Garros.
El Matador continued: This is a special place for me and I enjoy it, unforgettable moments here, and I will give my best every day to be ready for it.
Nadal used to overcome setbacks, winning his 14th title at Roland Garros last June, despite playing the entire course with analgesic injections in his foot.
What motivates Nadal to achieve a new achievement in New York, is the opportunity to regain first place in the world from the defending Russian champion, Daniil Medvedev, the player whom Nadal defeated in the 2019 final in five sets.
While Nadal trained in New York, Djokovic remained in Europe, steadfastly refusing to withdraw from the tournament in the hope of a last-minute change to the “Covid” policy by the US authorities.
But the unvaccinated Djokovic, who was excluded from the Australian Championship at the beginning of the year for this reason, is banned from entering the United States for his continued refusal to receive the vaccine.
“Unfortunately, this time I will not be able to travel to New York for the US Open, good luck to my fellow players!” said the 21-time Grand Slam champion, most recently at Wimbledon, ahead of the draw for the last Grand Slam that begins on Monday and runs until September 11. I will keep myself in good physical shape and a positive mental state while waiting for a return to competition.
Nadal, who will meet Australian Rinke Hijikata in the first round, described the absence of Djokovic as sad, and said: From my point of view, it is very sad news, it is always unfortunate when the best players in the world cannot participate in a tournament due to injury or other reasons.
“In this case, not having one of the best players in history in a Grand Slam is always a big loss, isn’t it?” It’s hard for the fans and for the tournament, in my opinion, it’s hard for the players as well because we want to have the best elite.
Former American football star John McEnroe described the ban on three-time champion Djokovic in New York, most recently in 2018, as a “farce”.
“At this point, during the pandemic, two and a half years after it started, I think people all over the world know more about it, and the idea that he can’t travel to play here is a farce to me,” McEnroe said.
Ironically, during the height of the epidemic in 2020 and 2021, Djokovic was allowed to play in New York, and the 35-year-old has not played since securing a seventh title at Wimbledon.
His controversial stance on vaccination led to his deportation from Melbourne in January, where he had hoped to defend his Australian Open title.
With the continued absence of Swiss legend Roger Federer, question marks over Nadal’s fitness and the ban on Djokovic, the race may be open to men, as in recent years.
Croatia’s Marin Cilic, Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka and Medvedev have broken the dominance of the big three since 2014.
Medvedev, who will meet American Stefan Kozlov in the first round, hopes for revenge after being denied Wimbledon, like the rest of the Russian and Belarusian players.
After returning from the British ban, the 26-year-old won the Mexican title Los Cobos on hard ground.
World number two Alexander Zverev is absent due to injury, while young Spaniard Carlos Alcaras, who reached the 2021 quarter-finals, is looking forward to his first title in the Grand Slam at the age of nineteen.
#Nadal #chasing #Big #absence #Grime