Rafael Nadal will kick off his 16th US Open campaign on Tuesday against a player with a wild card, Rinky Hijikata. Rafa returns to New York for the first time since 2019, when he toppled Daniil Medvedev in that memorable five-setter.
Nadal is the 2nd seed behind Daniil Medvedev and one of the favorites, especially after a relatively easy path toward the semi-final. The Spaniard could become world no. 1 after the US Open for the first time in two and a half years, especially if his main rivals fail to reach the final.
Rafa is happy with his level on the practice court, raising it every day after dealing with an abdominal injury for over a month. Nadal made his career-best start of the season at Majors after conquering the Australian Open and Roland Garros.
The Spaniard headed to London with a desire to win the first Wimbledon since 2010. Still, an abdominal injury prevented him from performing at 100%. Rafa struggled in the opening rounds, unable to impose his strokes and earn free points from his initial shot.
Giving his 120%, Nadal overpowered an injury and Taylor Fritz in an epic quarter-final that went down to the wire. Rafa entered his third consecutive Wimbledon semi-final, facing Nick Kyrgios for a place in the title clash.
Nadal checked his injury and revealed a seven-millimeter tear in his muscle, withdrawing from Wimbledon and heading home to Mallorca.
Rafael Nadal feels good on the practice court in New York.
Rafa returned to the practice court after a proper rest, but he still felt the pain while serving, deciding to miss Montreal.
Nadal returned to action in Cincinnati and experienced a 7-6, 4-6, 6-3 loss to Borna Coric in two hours and 51 minutes. The Spaniard said he did not feel well in Cincinnati, heading to New York and having a couple of good days on the practice court.
“I’m careful while serving, but I have been practicing at high intensity. I’m happy with my level at the moment. I have played only one match after Wimbledon, but I have been training well for a couple of weeks.
I have played a couple of sets against Fritz, Kecmanovic and Davidovich Fokina, which helps. I was not ready to play at my best in Cincinnati, and I’m in a better position ahead of the US Open,” Rafael Nadal said.