Rafael Nadal is looking to improve his record and win his 23rd major title as he competes in the US Championship in the absence of his rival Novak Djokovic, who was denied entry due to his refusal to receive a vaccine for the Corona virus.
After 19 years of starting, Nadal, 36, is dragging a body that has sustained multiple injuries, especially in his leg, to compete in a tournament that culminated in the 2010, 2013, 2017 and 2019 titles, the date of his last appearance. .
The Spanish star has been forced to miss the American championship four times in his opulent career, and there are new doubts about his physical ability to survive two tough weeks at the Flushing Meadows stadiums.
With abdominal surgery keeping him out of the Wimbledon semi-finals against Australian Nick Kyrgios, Nadal once played an orphan in a loss to Croat Borna Coric at the Cincinnati Masters.
“I have to look ahead and think about the energy that the fans give us in New York,” said Nadal, who has won two of the three major titles this year in Australia and at Roland Garros.
“This is a special place for me and I enjoy it, unforgettable moments here and I will do my best every day to be ready for it.”
Nadal is accustomed to overcoming setbacks, winning his 14th Roland Garros title last June despite spending the entire circuit under painkiller injections in his leg.
What motivates Nadal to achieve a new milestone in New York is the opportunity to win the world number one spot from the defending champion, Russian Daniil Medvedev, the player Nadal beat in the 2019 final in five sets.
While Nadal was training in New York, Djokovic remained in Europe, stubbornly refusing to withdraw from the tournament in the hope that the US authorities would change their Covid policy at the last moment.
But the unvaccinated Djokovic, expelled from the Australian Championship at the beginning of the year for this reason, is banned from entering the US due to his constant refusal to vaccinate.
“Unfortunately, this time I will not be able to travel to New York for the US Open,” said the winner of 21 major championships, the last of which was at Wimbledon, on Thursday before the draw for the last Grand Slam tournament. , which will begin on Monday and will last until September 11th. To my football comrades! I will keep myself in good physical shape and in a positive mental state, looking forward to returning to competition.”