Shadow over Rafael Nadal's future as he pulls out of US Open

 

Doubts over Rafael Nadal's long-term future grew last night as the 26-year-old Spaniard withdrew from the forthcoming US Open because of the knee problems that continue to dog his career.

Nadal has not played since his second-round defeat to Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon nearly two months ago. He withdrew from the Olympics, from the Toronto Masters and from this week's Cincinnati Masters before confirming yesterday that he would not be fit to play in the year's final Grand Slam event in New York, which begins in 11 days' time.

The world No 3, who has been suffering from a recurrence of tendinitis in his knees, said: "I am very sad to announce that I am still not ready to play. I am sorry since I always found great crowds and support, but I have to continue with my recuperation and preparation to be ready to play in the right conditions."

Nadal's all-action style has always put pressure on his suspect knees and he finds hard courts particularly punishing. Clay and grass are more forgiving surfaces, which explains why his most profitable period of the year is usually between April and July.

Nevertheless, the Spaniard won the US Open in 2010 and was runner-up last year. After this year's tournament he will lose the 1,200 rankings points he would have been defending, which could give Andy Murray the chance to take his place at No 3. Murray, who beat Sam Querrey 6-2, 6-4 in the opening match of his title defence in Cincinnati last night to earn a third-round meeting with Jérémy Chardy, is only 695 points behind Nadal.

While questions will be asked about Nadal's future, past experience suggests it might be unwise to write him off. After suffering his only defeat in the French Open to Robin Soderling three years ago, he came back to win three Grand Slam titles in 2010 and reclaim his position at the top of the world rankings.

This year's early exit at Wimbledon ended Nadal's run of five successive appearances in Grand Slam finals, culminating in his seventh victory at the French Open. Having lost seven finals in a row to Novak Djokovic between last year's Indian Wells Masters and this year's Australian Open, he beat the Serb in three successive finals in the clay-court season.

Nadal's form in the first part of this year had already ensured his qualification for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London, which bring together the year's eight most successful players. Roger Federer and Djokovic are the only others who have booked their places.

The Spaniard's absence will leave Federer, Djokovic and Murray as the favourites to win in New York. Federer reclaimed his position at the top of the world rankings with his victory at Wimbledon last month, Murray underlined his progress by reaching the Wimbledon final and winning the Olympic gold medal, while Djokovic won his first title for more than four months in Toronto last week.

 

Get Adobe Flash player

 



Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
life
Life and Style
Researchers have said it could take only two questions to identify a problem with alcohol
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Duncan Campbell's hour-long film 'It for Others'
Turner Prize 2014
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hadley in a scene from ‘Soul Boys Of The Western World’
musicSpandau Ballet are back together - on stage and screen
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Elliott Cowan as George Martin in 'Cilla'
tvCilla review: A poignant ending to mini-series
News
i100
Life and Style
Bearing up: Sebastian Flyte with his teddy Aloysius in Brideshead Revisited
lifePhilippa Perry explains why a third of students take a bear to uni
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Alan Sugar appearing in a shot from Apprentice which was used in a Cassette Boy mashup
artsA judge will rule if pieces are funny enough to be classed as parodies
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style