After pulling out of the Olympics, Toronto and this week’s Cincinnati tournaments due to tendonitis in his left knee, Rafa told us: “I will compete when my knee says I am ready to compete.”
Unfortunately, his knee has said “nay” to playing in this year’s US Open. Here’s Rafa’s statement via USOpen.org:
“I am very sad to announce that I am still not ready to play and have to withdraw from this year’s US Open in NYC. I am sorry since I always found great crowds and great support, but I have to continue with my recuperation and preparation to be ready to play in the right conditions. I want to say hi and thanks to all the fans in particular to the New Yorkers. I’ll miss you all this year at the Open!”
This is not exactly surprising – Rafa’s made it clear that this isn’t any regular injury layoff, saying the injury “is a little different” than the one that kept him out of Wimbledon in 2009. But it is jarring, nonetheless. This is Rafa’s longest stretch out of the game and it’s starting to feel like short of a bionic knee replacement, severely curtailed seasons may be the key to Rafa’s playing future. Let’s hope that that the rays of the Mediterranean sun and his training regimen get him ready for next season!