World #3 Rafael Nadal accepted a wild card into the Citi Open in Washington, D.C. where he will begin his hard court season. For the first time, the tournament will be held from August 2-8.
“I am very excited to come to Washington for the first time,” Nadal said. “I have never been there and it’s one more place I wanted to come and play. I am looking forward to playing again and Washington shall be the best start for the U.S. Summer Swing for me. Looking forward to seeing again my US fans that I haven’t seen since I won the 2019 US Open in NYC!. Vamos!”
The Spaniard will compete in an action packed draw that includes top players such as Felix Auger-Aliassime, Denis Shapavalov, Nick Kyrigos, Hurbert Huzkacz, and many more.
The World #3 will compete in his first tournament in the United States since defeating Daniil Medvedev in a five-set thriller at the 2019 US Open. Nadal will try to regain his confidence and practice ahead of New York, where he will once again attempt to break Roger Federer’s all time grand slam record. Nadal’s record bid at Roland Garros was thwarted in the semifinals by Novak Djokovic in a tight four-set battle. Following his shocking defeat in Paris, Nadal withdrew from Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics, stating that he needed to give his body rest to compete at his highest level.
Hi all, I have decided not to participate at this year’s Championships at Wimbledon and the Olympic Games in Tokyo. It’s never an easy decision to take but after listening to my body and discuss it with my team I understand that it is the right decision
— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) June 17, 2021
Playing in Washington will be a smart scheduling move for the Spaniard. It will provide him with a good hard court warm-up without the added pressure of the bigger tournaments, while also providing him with tough opponents. Regardless of his performance in Washington, his next goal in preparation should be to repeat his 2019 performance at the Rogers Cup in Toronto.
Nadal wouldn’t benefit from playing in Cincinnati because the courts play very fast, similar to grass, and hasn’t had the best results in previous years. In order for Nadal to have a successful run in New York, he will need to participate in practice tournaments and get plenty of rest. If Nadal performs at a high level and regains his confidence before his appearance at Flushing Meadows, there is a real chance that Rafael Nadal may hold the biggest tennis record to his name.
Main Photo from Getty.