Defending champion Rafael Nadal will miss the US Open because of a wrist injury

 

The US Open, which starts in six days’ time, received the news that every tournament dreads when Rafael Nadal announced his withdrawal from the year’s final Grand Slam because of a wrist injury.

The 28-year-old Spaniard, who has become the biggest draw in his sport, had been due to defend his title at a tournament where he has reached the final in each of his last three appearances.

Nadal has been training with a cast on his right wrist since suffering the injury in practice last month. Having initially pulled out of the Masters Series tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati, he had hoped to return to competition in New York for the first time since Wimbledon, but said on his Facebook and Twitter pages that the injury had not healed in time.

“I am sure you understand that it is a very tough moment for me since it is a tournament I love and have great memories of,” Nadal said. “There is 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.”

Video: Nadal withdraws from US Open

Wrist injuries are among those that tennis players fear the most. The human body was not designed to strike  hundreds of tennis balls every day and the wrist can be  vulnerable to complex injuries. Juan Martin del Potro missed the best part of 2010 following an operation on one wrist and has not played since  February after surgery on the other; Laura Robson has not competed for seven months after a similar procedure.

Early indications are that Nadal’s injury is not as serious. Indeed, it could prove to be a blessing in disguise. Nadal had been playing a heavy  schedule ever since his comeback following a seven-month absence with knee trouble last February. He looked well below his best at Wimbledon and an enforced rest could be just what his knees, in  particular, need.

With 14 Grand Slam titles, Nadal is only three short of Roger Federer’s all-time record. He could well have matched his oldest rival but for the injuries that have dogged him over the years. While  Federer prepares to start his 60th consecutive Grand Slam tournament next week, Nadal will be missing his fourth in the last six years.

Despite the injuries, Nadal’s record is remarkable. In the 16 Grand Slams he has played since the 2010 Australian Open, he has won the title eight times and finished runner-up four times. His only “failures” which could not be blamed on specific injuries (a hamstring problem was a major reason for his defeat by David Ferrer in the quarter-finals of the 2011 Australian Open) were his Wimbledon defeats in 2012, 2013 and 2014 to Lukas Rosol, Steve Darcis and Nick Kyrgios. While organisers of  tournaments in the latter part of the season will wait anxiously for medical bulletins from the Nadal camp, the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in London will be grateful that the Spaniard has already qualified for the field alongside Novak Djokovic and Federer, who secured his place with his victory over Ferrer in the Cincinnati Masters final on Sunday night.

Places at the O2 Arena go to the eight players who have earned the most ranking points over the calendar year. Andy Murray is currently in ninth on the qualifying list but Nadal’s absence from New York will at least mean that he will be one of the top eight seeds and therefore cannot meet any of the big names before the  quarter-finals.

Djokovic will also benefit from Nadal’s absence, which looks sure to guarantee that the Serb holds on to top place in the world rankings for a good while yet.

Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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.

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk