The 2021 US Open started on Monday, August 30, and, while there’s still plenty of stars to watch, there will be some serious absences in Flushing Meadows, like Roger Federer, Dominic Thiem and Serena Williams. One of them will be Rafael Nadal, 20-time Grand Slam champion and four-time US Open winner. 

Nadal, 35, will miss the US Open for a second consecutive time, after he withdrew last year due to the pandemic. The Spaniard won in New York for the last time in 2019, after he defeated Daniil Medvedev in a hard fought final of five sets. 

While Nadal is known for being one of  the biggest fighters of the tour, this year the Majorcan hasn't been able to compete as much as he’s used to. He had to miss the entire grass season, including Wimbledon, and the Olympic Games. While he returned to the tour in Washington, he soon had to retire from the competition. Here, discover why. 

Why won’t Rafael Nadal compete in the US Open 2021? 

On August 20, Nadal addressed his physical problems in a lengthy statement published on his social media in Spanish. The World. No 5 said that he’s been struggling all year with his foot, as he suffers from the Muller-Weiss syndrome, degenerative disease that generates dysplasia of the scaphoid (one of the foot bones). He has been suffering from this disease since 2005, as he explained in the statement. 

“I need to take some time. After discussing it with my team and family, I’ve made this decision (to put an end to the 2021 season) and I think is the way to go to recover myself,” he wrote on his Instagram and Twitter. “I’ve lost many things that are important to me (...) and since I haven't been able to train and prepare myself to compete the way I like to do it, I’ve reached the conclusion that I need time." 

He also said that he will evaluate looking for a different treatment to see if his foot can get better, so he can keep competing at the highest levels some more years. “I promise you that I will work hard to try to keep enjoying this sport a little longer, he concluded. Until then, tennis fans all over the world will surely miss him.