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The foot injury that caused 20-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal to withdraw from multiple events recently on the North American hardcourt swing will force him to the sidelines for the rest of the 2021 season.
Nadal announced the news in a series of tweets in Spanish on Friday, saying the pain in his left foot has prevented him from training properly and that he needs time to recover and seek new treatment for the problem. Nadal has had foot issues for pretty much his entire career due to Muller-Weiss disease, a rare condition that resulted in a deformity in one of the bones in his foot.
Nadal has been able to manage the problem over the years and become one of the greatest tennis players of all time, but this recent flare-up at age 35 has cast some doubt over this last phase of his career.
After losing in the semifinals of the French Open to Novak Djokovic, Nadal skipped Wimbledon and the Olympic Games to try to prepare himself for a run at the upcoming U.S. Open.
Nadal returned to tournament play in early August in Washington, D.C., but lost his second match to Lloyd Harris and subsequently pulled out of the Masters 1000 series events in Toronto and Cincinnati.
Nadal said the focus of his next few months will be to find a solution that allows him to play and compete for major titles without intolerable pain.
Currently ranked No. 4, Nadal will tumble toward the bottom of the top-10 as a result of not being able to defend his points from the 2019 U.S. Open title, which remained part of the ranking formula until this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nadal joins a list of several prominent men’s players who will not be in New York, including Roger Federer and defending champion Dominic Thiem, who are both dealing with injuries.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Rafael Nadal pulls out of US Open, shuts down for rest of season