WASHINGTON: Rafael Nadal’s announcement that he will miss key US Open warm-up events at Toronto and Cincinnati with a right wrist injury will have some rivals ‘licking their chops’.
So says Wimbledon semi-finalist Milos Raonic, among those surprised to learn that the 28-year-old Spaniard, the reigning US Open champion, would be sidelined for the ATP Masters Series events.
“There’s a lot of people hungry in this sport,” Raonic said at the ATP and WTA Washington Open.
“It’s unfortunate to see him go but ... there are too many that are hungry and are licking their chops.”
Doctors told Nadal that he must rest the injury, suffered in training on Tuesday, for two to three weeks. That will enhance the chances of rivals to capture a crown, including Canada’s seventh-ranked Raonic, even though such formidable foes as world number one Novak Djokovic and 17-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer remain in the fields the next two weeks.
“There’s nobody losing sleep over it,” said Raonic over Nadal’s absence. “Because everybody wants to make the most of the opportunities.”
However, fifth-ranked Czech Tomas Berdych said the game will miss Nadal.
“I wish him a fast recovery,” said Berdych. “To miss a player like Nadal a week or more, it’s always a shame.”
Tournament organisers, certainly, will miss having Nadal as a drawing card.
“He’s a great champion, and his run to the title last year electrified our fans,” said Cincinnati tournament director Vince Cicero.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2014.
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