Rafael Nadal out of Cincinnati, adds to doubt over US Open

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WASHINGTON – Rafael Nadal withdrew from the ATP Cincinnati Masters on Wednesday (Aug 11), organisers said, just a day after his withdrawal from the Toronto tournament had already cast doubt on his fitness for the US Open.

The 35-year-old Spanish star has been suffering from a left foot injury since his semi-final exit at the hands of Novak Djokovic at the French Open in June.

Nadal, level with Djokovic and Roger Federer on a men’s record 20 Grand Slams, is hoping to be fit for an assault on a fifth US Open title when the final Grand Slam of the year starts on Aug 30.

World four Nadal’s withdrawal means that none of the “Big Three” will compete again before the New York fortnight.

Top-ranked Djokovic, seeking to complete a calendar-year Grand Slam at the US Open, withdrew from Cincinnati on Monday, saying he needed more recovery time after the Tokyo Olympics.

Djokovic, 34, could become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to win all four major titles in one year.

But he missed a chance at a “Golden Slam” after losing to Alexander Zverev in an Olympic semi-final.

“I am taking a bit longer to recover and recuperate after quite a taxing journey from Australia to Tokyo,” Djokovic posted on social media.

“Sadly, that means I won’t be ready to compete in Cincinnati this year so I’ll turn my focus and attention to US Open and some more time with family. See you in New York soon!”

Federer, who turned 40 on Sunday, withdrew from Toronto and Cincinnati last Thursday, adding to fitness fears around the Swiss legend for the US Open.

Federer, whose most recent Slam crown came at the 2018 Australian Open, reached the Wimbledon quarter-finals but skipped the Tokyo Olympics due to a knee injury.

Federer, who has not played at the US Open since reaching the 2019 quarter-finals, has played five events this year. He underwent two right knee operations in 2020 following the Australian Open.

Former world one Federer, now ninth in the rankings, made his best run of the year to the last eight at Wimbledon, where he is an eight-time champion.

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