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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
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 hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness