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What did Rafael Nadal say about Novak Djokovic and the US Open?

The Spaniard spoke to reporters during US Open media day and revealed that he is taking precautions when serving to protect an abdominal injury.

Nadal on Djokovic: “The sport in some ways is bigger than any player”

With a smile on his face, Rafa Nadal made his first appearance in almost three years in the main press room at the US Open to speak to reporters during media day at the final Grand Slam of the season. The Spaniard is preparing for an attempt at his fifth US Open title as best he can while nursing an abdominal injury that caused him to retire at Wimbledon ahead of the semifinals and that prevented him from performing at the Cincinnati Masters last week in peak conditions. What the 22-time Grand Slam winner does not lack is the determination to be “ready for action”.

“I’m excited to play here. It’s one of the most important places in my tennis career, without a doubt. I’m just looking for every single practice to be better and better, just to be competitive from the first round,” Nadal said, adding that he is taking precautions when serving. “It’s a tough injury because it’s dangerous, it’s risky. When you have a [tear], it’s a place that you put lot of effort when you are serving. You need to find flexibility again. The risk is higher. With the tools that I have today, I hope to be competitive enough to give myself a chance.

Before Cincinnati, I just played two sets there before the tournament started, so it was difficult,” Nadal added. “The preparation wasn’t very long, but I gave myself a chance there. It wasn’t possible. Let’s try here again, with better preparation.”

Nadal on Djokovic

Nadal also spoke about the absence of Novak Djokovic from the final slam of the year after the Serb withdrew due to US covid-19 vaccination regulations.

“From my personal perspective, it’s very sad news,” said the Spaniard, who will look to extend his major title record to 23 in New York. “It’s always a shame when the best players of the world are not able to play a tournament because of injuries or because of different reasons. In this case, not having one of the best players of the history in the draw of Grand Slam is always an important miss, no?

“But on the other hand, I repeat what I said plenty of times: the sport in some ways is bigger than any player,” added the 36-year-old, who has been plagued by injuries during the last two seasons. “The tournament continues. Even if it’s not a good news for everyone, the world continues and tennis will continue after me, after Novak, after Roger [Federer].

“Without a doubt, Novak is one of the most important players of the last 20 years, [in] the history of our sport. In a personal way I feel sorry for him that he’s not able to travel here.”


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