Rafael Nadal pulled out of the U.S. Open on Friday and said he will not play tennis again this year because of a nagging foot injury.
The Spaniard sat out both Wimbledon and the Olympics because of fatigue after losing to Novak Djokovic in the French Open semifinals.
“I am very sorry to announce that I won’t be able to keep playing tennis during the 2021 season,” Nadal said in a video he posted on social media. “But as you know, I have been suffering too much with my foot for the last year now and I missed a lot of important events for me.”
The 35-year-old Nadal said the pain from a chronic foot problem he has been battling most of his career is too much.
“During the last year I was not able to practice and prepare the way I need to be competitive at the standards I want to be,” he said. “The injury is nothing new. It is the same injury I am having since 2005. In that moment the doctors were very negative about my future career, but honestly I was able to have a career I was unable to ever dream about, so I am confident I will recover again.”
Nadal insisted that he is “going to fight every single day” because he is convinced that he still has “a couple of beautiful years” left in his career. Nadal has won 20 Grand Slam singles titles, tied with Djokovic and Roger Federer.
Nadal, a former No. 1 player, is currently ranked fourth. He has won two tournaments this year, on clay in Barcelona and Rome.
Federer and Dominic Thiem, last year’s U.S. Open champion, have both pulled out of the tournament, as well.