‘Very sad news’ – Nadal regrets the absence of his rival Djokovic in New York

By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Saturday, August 27, 2022

Rafael Nadal told reporters he was saddened by the absence of his rival Novak Djokovic at the US Open 2022.

After: Q&A on Carlos Alcaraz

“From my personal point of view, this is very sad news,” Nadal said. “It’s always a shame that the best players in the world can’t play in a tournament because of injuries or for different reasons.

“In that case, not having one of the best players in history in the Grand Slam draw is still a big miss, right?”

Nadal, who has missed his share of Grand Slam draws for a variety of reasons including the last two US Open stagings, says it’s not just the fans and the tournament that are being cheated. It is also the players, who want to have the best possible field during a Grand Slam.

“Difficult for the fans, difficult for the tournament,” Nadal said. “In my opinion, difficult for the players too, because we want to have the best pitch possible.”

But Nadal hammered home a familiar theme at the end of his remarks: sport is bigger than any player.

“On the other hand, I repeat what I have said many times: sport, in some ways, is bigger than any player,” he said. “I missed a lot of important events in my tennis career because of injuries, no doubt. Last year I wasn’t there. Two years ago I wasn’t there. The tournament continues The world of tennis continues.

“Even if it’s not good news for everyone, the world goes on and tennis will go on after me, after Novak, after Roger.”

Acknowledging that fact didn’t stop Nadal from dwelling on the struggles Djokovic faced in 2022, a year that saw him miss two major tournaments due to his decision not to be vaccinated and the slow dismantling of strict Covid-19 regulations around the world.

“Without a doubt, Novak is one of the most important players of the last 20 years, the history of our sport. In a personal way, I’m sorry for him that he can’t travel here,” Nadal said.

Russian Daniil Medvedev agrees with Nadal. The top seed also missed a major in 2022 when Wimbledon banned all Russian and Belarusian players from competing due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“I would like him to play here,” Medvedev said. “We saw him at Wimbledon. He hasn’t played many tournaments this year. He came, he won. He’s such a champion. The rivalry against Rafa is really I want to heat up. Somehow 22, 21, a joke of a number.

“It’s a shame he’s not here. It would be a great story I think for tennis. Not only at the level of tennis, but it is not us the tennis players, it is the rule of the American government. Completely understandable too.

Photo credit: Christopher Lévy