Two of tennis’ biggest stars will skip the Canadian Open in Montreal this weekend ahead of the U.S. Open at the end of August.
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic both officially withdrew from the tournament this week, but for different reasons.
Nadal announced he wouldn’t travel to Canada on Friday morning because he had to “think about health,” which is likely a nod to the abdominal injury that forced him to leave Wimbledon before his semifinal match with Nick Kyrgios. Nadal tweeted he felt “a little discomfort” this week after returning to training.
“We have decided not to travel to Montréal and continue with the training sessions without forcing ourselves,” Nadal tweeted (translated from Spanish). “I sincerely thank the tournament director, Eugène and his entire team for the understanding and support they have always shown me and today was no exception.
“I hope to play again in Montréal, a tournament that I love and that I have won five times in front of an audience that has always welcomed me with great affection,” Nadal added. “I have no choice but to be prudent at this point and think about health.”
Nadal sustained the injury during his five-set win over American Taylor Fritz in the quarterfinals, but only after he needed a medical timeout to take anti-inflammatories. Skipping the Canadian Open gives Nadal another few weeks to recover before the U.S. Open.
Novak Djokovic’s vaccination status bars him again
Djokovic, meanwhile, is still not allowed to enter Canada because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19.
He is coming off his fourth consecutive Wimbledon final in June, but the Serbian has also already missed multiple tournaments this year because of his decision not to be vaccinated, including the Indian Wells Masters, the Miami Open and the Australian Open.
While Djokovic won’t play in Canada, he remains hopeful for a return to the United States for the U.S. Open in late August. Djokovic posted a training video on July 30 and wrote that he was “preparing as if” he will be allowed to compete in the tournament. The U.S. Open said in a statement it would adhere to the U.S. travel rules regarding vaccination status, so it would take a decision by the U.S. government for Djokovic to play.
Djokovic won the Canadian Open four times in his career – 2007, 2011, 2012 and 2016 – while Nadal won five times in his career: 2005, 2008, 2013, 2018 and 2019.
The first round of the tournament begins Wednesday, August 10. Daniil Medvedev is the reigning champion.