Novak Djokovic once shared his thoughts on Rafael Nadal’s absence from the 2012 US Open, highlighting what a considerable loss it was for the tournament.
Djokovic entered the New York Major as the second seed and defending champion, on the hunt for his second US Open title. Nadal, meanwhile, pulled out of the Grand Slam event due to tendonitis. This injury had already led to his absence from the London Olympics and the Masters 1000 events in Canada and Cincinnati, ultimately forcing him to conclude his season early.
Ahead of his title defense, Novak Djokovic shared his perspective on Rafael Nadal’s withdrawal from the event. He found the Spaniard’s absence “strange” given the rarity of the top four players – himself, Nadal, Roger Federer, and Andy Murray – missing a Grand Slam event, which he believed was indicative of the great era in men’s tennis.
“Well, it is strange because he hasn’t missed a slam for a long time. I think neither of us top four have really missed a slam for a long time, which can only work in favor of the sport,” he said in a press conference.
“I think that’s why it’s one of the reasons why we are experiencing a great era of men’s tennis, because all the top players are really committed in their performing and all the top events and, you know, reaching the final stages of those events,” he added.
The Serb lauded Nadal as a “great competitor” and expressed certainty that the Spaniard was dealing with a serious issue, as he would undoubtedly be competing in New York otherwise.
“So Rafa is a great competitor and somebody I know really well on and off the court. I’m sure that there is something serious going on, you know, because otherwise he would come here and play,” he said.
Djokovic went on to acknowledge Nadal’s absence as a great loss, not just for the tournament but for the sport as a whole, given his immense popularity. He also extended his best wishes to the Spaniard for a speedy recovery.
“So I know it’s in a way a loss for the tournament and, you know, for tennis itself, because he’s greatly appreciated, successful, and very popular athlete around the world. But, you know, I wish him a speedy recovery, obviously,” he added.
Novak Djokovic failed to defend his title at US Open 2012 in Rafael Nadal’s absence