Rafael Nadal will start his US hard court season in Washington

Rafael Nadal will return to competition by making his debut at the hard-court tournament in Washington.

The Citi Open announced Thursday that the 20-time Grand Slam champion is in the field for the July 31 to Aug. 8 event that serves as a US Open tuneup.

“I am very excited to come to Washington for the first time,” Rafa said in a statement. “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 US 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!”

Photo via Australian Open

Rafa has not played since his loss to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals of the French Open last month.

He decided to sit out Wimbledon, which ends Sunday, and the Tokyo Olympics, which open July 23, saying his body needed time to rest and recover after the clay-court season.

The tournament says Rock Creek Park Tennis Center will be allowed to have spectators at 50% of capacity. Last year’s Citi Open was canceled because of the pandemic.

Source: Associated Press


  1. Well, what a Wimbledon this year ! Let me count: No Del Potro, No Thiem, No Nadal, No Warinka from the beginning, Murray way past his good times, Federer approaching 40 and coming back from double surgery. Well who else would Djokovic want out to win this ? It is insane as I am reading match analysis now (did not watch the match) that Berrettini managed to win the first set after saving set point ??? I think that this kind of Djokovic would have been brutally exterminated by the 2019 Federer. Try to compare this Wimbledon to 2019 counterpart and you will be blown away by the emptiness of the field.
    I honestly can not believe what has happened with Rafa this year! He was two sets up and almost winning the match with Tsitsipas just to lose the match going to five sets. He started crumbling down out of nowhere while 5-0 up with Djokovic in Paris and continued to lose the match. He stayed out of this kind of Wimbledon due to tiredness.
    Is anyone aware if he is dealing with some kind of mental issues? It would help us a lot to sort may things out.

    • Nikos,

      For me the loss against stefanos in australia was more devastating for me then te loss against nole in Paris.

      Nadal had a unbelievable chance of doing what djokovic has done in paris last month that is winning al grandslams more dan once.

      Nadal was un a roll winning 35 sets in a row till now i dont know why he lost that match we will never know.

      Its good that nadal had skipped wimbeldon and the olympics. In my opinion nadal is playing too much clay court tournaments.

    • I think there were two reasons why Rafa lost to Stef at AO21 – he had been injured, couldn’t practice properly and was out of shape physically (he said that earlier in the tournament), and so when he let his opponent back into the match, which is something he’s doing too much over the last couple of years, he didn’t have the stamina to make a comeback. I believe he was injured in the RG semi as well. Some players, including Shapo on Friday, have spoken about the stress of having to live in a bubble at tournaments and if there is a mental issue, it could be that.

      The rescheduling of the clay season (or what remained of it) in 2020 and RG this year has done him no favours either. Rafa has played only a few tournaments and not had good enough results in them. The unfortunate consequence is that Rafa has lost his ranking and that’s going to get even worse when the COVID rules are removed, currently that’s due to happen after Toronto, but I’m hoping for an extension. Being seeded outside of the top four means it will be even harder for him to win anything. That’s why I wrote earlier that Rafa needs some really good results this summer. He needs to break out of what will likely otherwise become a vicious circle of losing matches, confidence and ranking.

    • Nikos, I, too, have been worrying about what is going on —-or not going on—-with Rafa for a while now. I don’t think it’s just one thing bothering him.

      He is not one to complain and did put on a brave face to play despite the quarantining and restrictions on Tour.

      Neither he nor his team is talking about his foot problem even though he mentioned it in his interview on “Mi Casa Es La Tuya.”

      Anyone who has followed Rafa knows that the foot problem has led to knee and back issues. When Nike found a solution for Rafa to play with a specially built shoe, Rafa and his team were advised by his medical team that he would experience medical problems at some point in the future. Perhaps he has surpassed that point and it has become worse than expected. Hopefully not. We just don’t know.

      We know Rafa is affected by any upheaval in his personal life as we saw when his parents separated. I hope all is ok for him at home but strongly feel that others should not be speculating about his private life.

      Rafa said he could deal with losses and that the “fear of losing was his enemy.” I do wonder if this could be a factor for his inconsistency.

      It could be something we know nothing about.

      Last, but not least, maybe his body is simply telling him it has been through a lot. My wish for him is to be well in body and mind. Rafa insists he is not ready to retire and wants to continue to do what makes him happy. I hope he finds his equilibrium.

  2. So the inevitable has happened. For me it was a forgone conclusion. Sorry. I didn’t watch at all. Actually I never watch DJ’s matches. Very depressing!!!!

    Djokovic does everything possible to win – from studying his opponent – diet – affirmations – visualisation etc etc.

    Rafa has it tough in the US open. It’s not just Djokovic.

    Just hope he keeps fit, well, hits form and that his confidence is high.

    Also hope he studies his greatest opponent well, and comes up with some great new tactics and strategy.

    Wish you everything you need to keep fit and win. Please Rafa please!!!



    • I hope the rest and time away from tennis will help Rafa come back healthier, both mentally and physically and will win some tournaments again. Tennis would not be the same without Rafa and Federer.

  3. Djockovic is playing very smart in not taking any risk and giving Barrettini no pace, hence drawing the errors. I hope Berrettini doesn’t get drawn into his web again in the third. At least Berrettini is serving first.

  4. Not worth watching. But following up on the scores. Even after Berrettini won the first set, I still know Djokovic will win eventually.


    Otherwise… Happy Sunday everyone!

    • I think it’s called wishful thinking Mac, not watching the game but following the scores and Matteo. Is playing way better than I imagined , and it’s good to see that Novack hasn’t ran away with it completely, looking on the positive side I think Matteo and Denis have played really well in this tournament and I can’t wait to see how they perform at the next .

  5. Matteo needs more first serves and has to take advantage of Novak’s second serve. Hoping the nerves will subside.

  6. I am watching three games now and already i am getting angry. Mateo had chances in both service games to go 0-40 and he blow it man I hate the next generation.

    This tell me ultimatly djokovic will win easily in three sets

  7. Rafa’s not playing so I’m rooting for Matteo Berrettini to win the Wimbledon title. If your opponent starts barking and acting like a lunatic just ignore his theatrics. The only job for you today is to win Wimbledon.


    • This has been a little unfair for the next -gens. This golden era of tennis with Roger, Rafa and Novak is just too difficult for them to penetrate… especially in the GS. Roger is starting to break down with his age…He had about five years without Rafa and Novak which enabled him to reach the height that’s he’s at today. I truly believe Rafa would be way ahead should he had been the same age as Roger.Novak was there but he was dealing with his Gluten intolerance which caused his breathing problems. ( Told you Margo a few drops could have slowed the wolf)! Anyway I’m not watching because I’m pretty sure ND will be taking his 6th chomp of Wimbledon grass & it’s too nauseating to watch.If Matteo wins I’ll be happy to eat crow…I’ll even go eat some grass!

  8. Congratulations to Ashleigh Barty for winning her second Slam and first Wimbledon title.

    Now it’s up to Berrettini to win his first Slam. I hope he is the dark horse I was hoping for.

  9. It’s just unreal that Djoko always manages to win the crucial points in his matches. Even if his opponents might have played better the whole set, he will just hold on and then pocket the important points. Time and time again. Sick of that sight.
    Sometimes I feel like he knows some kinda dark magic. Never seen anyone do it on such a consistent basis.

  10. I would not be so pessimistic about current situation for various reasons:

    1) Where are Del Potro (countless wrist surgeries), Murray (struggling with hip replacement comeback), Wawrinka (inury prone), Federer (double surgery comeback), Nadal (did not participate) this year at WImbledon? Each one of them has deprived Djokovic of at least one Slam or Olympic title

    2) Djokovic is not at his prime as various journalists claim. He was being obliterated by Rafa in the first set of this year Paris semifinal and suddenly Rafa started making unforced errors for no apparent reason. Problem is he continued to do so in the sets to come, giving Djokovic the unprecedented kiss of life. Despite all these, Rafa could easily have won the third set. Unfortunately, he lost it due to that unbelievable volley UE and he finally collapsed in the fourth….

    3) Looking at yesterday’s match statistics we will see some interesting facts: 33 winners, 5 DFs, 3/10 BP conversion and 15 UEs by Djokovic, while Shapovalov had 40 winners, 6 DFs, 1/11 BP conversion and 36 UEs.
    First of all, any other Djokovic rival mentioned above would have easily converted more than 1 BP for sure. I think it was more Shapovalov’s inability to convert than Djokovic’s ability to hold. That is what infuriated Shapovalov many times in this match.
    Second, how many players have made 40 winners in a match and finally lose, unless they are muddling themselves?
    Third, where was the multitude of aces of other Shapovalov matches in this match ? And please don’t mention Djokovic’s return abilities. When an “ace” is coming towards you, you can only just touch the ball or little distract its trajectory.
    Fourth, 2h 44 minutes for 3 sets ? How about the grass ….. specialists like Garin etc Djokovic had to defeat in the previous rounds?

    4) Finally, although it will definitely hurt much once more this Sunday if Djokovic wins, don’t forget he is one of this league (Nadal, Federer the others) that do not easily let such chances slip by their hands. It was meant to be Berretini and hopefully he will give him some more run for his money.

    • Nikos, thanks so much for your analysis. I felt Shapovalov didn’t have a chance to win only because of his inexperience. I hope the praise that was lavished upon him yesterday will help him get over his loss and spur him on to great wins.

      I have been rooting for Berrettini all along. I asked a couple on their way to the tennis courts near me “who will win Wimbledon?” Of course they said the Serb. I said I was going for Berrettini and they cracked up. Only tomorrow will tell.

      • No at all ! It is just one of my seldom contributions to this very nice Rafafan website. I feel a little sad about Rafa this year, especially after his heartbreaking loss to Djokovic in Paris. I sincerely hope he is not having some kind of mental issues, as his performance seems to fluctuate in regular fashion from the very first day of this year, even in his wins against my fellow Greek Stefanos in Barcelona and against Djokovic in Rome. I can see some similarities with 2015 season, which was very devastating for me to watch.
        As for tomorrow, I can only hope for a Houdini-like appearance from Berrerttini, as nothing less will suffice…

  11. I guess it’s Djokovic winning on Sunday.

    No disrespect to Berrettini (of course I hope he wins!) but he played so great until the final and when he faces Djokovic it will be like taking candy from a baby.

    If Berrettini wants to win, he will have to serve lights out and play at 500%. All Djokovic needs is to bring his 50% and the wave of self belief he’s been riding, and the title is his. Depressing.

    Anyway. It will be amazing that the big 3 will all be sitting on 20 slams each come Monday. Golden age of tennis.

    • I agree Mac. Djokovic plays not to lose and has a high degree of safety built into his game. He’s very cunning, not overpressing and forcing his opponents into errors, as he knows he can rally all day long. No doubt he’ll be targetting Berrettini’s backhand, the weaker wing. Berrettini just has to hold on to belief.
      Hoping for a good show from the Italian underdog.

  12. Sad and awful outcome of the match bet Shapovalov and Djokovic. But I’ve seen this part for a long time in Djokovic’s play. This dogged attitude and complete belief in himself. He only sees one thing and that him winning – nothing else. He patiently waits for his chance and say what you like he also has luck, great luck in his side. Patience, luck and not letting go of the reins …… . Probably this is what gets into the opponents head. He has to play against someone who is as ruthless as he is. He certainly has gotten abs gets into Rafa’s head. If Rafa can clear that he’ll beat him.

  13. I like Shapo. He’s a nice kid with a big heart and a big game. But I did not believe he’d win the match against the Big Bad Wolf. Doubt he did either. He’s still young, at 22 and he’s been on the ATP tour since he was 17. He’s got time, I tell myself. Then I think of young Rafa at 22. 7 slams and an Olympic gold in singles!! A three time Wimbledon finalist, losing only to the Wimbledon GOAT twice, then beating him! We shall never see his like again, nor Roger’s, nor the Serbian wolfhound’s.

    If any of these young’uns want to win a slam they will have to pry it out of The Wolf’s cold dead fingers! It’s what the Big Kids do. It’s what Rafa, Roger and The Wolf have done, fought each other, won big and lost big. We shall not see their like again.

    • 👏👏👏 Nothing more to add. That’s the whole picture in a nutshell! No sugar coating, just the raw truth!

    • We need Rafa back on court for sure to stop Novak running away with every title from now on, At the end of Rafa/Roger/Novak’s career will Novak have the most titles, probably , and no doubt he will overtake Rogers 8 Wimbledon titles but he will never be able to take Rafa’s King of Clay title . And of course the one thing he desperately wants, yes, he has the respect of the people but not the love and affection that Rafa and Roger rightly deserve.
      As for Shapovalov , I don’t think it will be long before we see this young man beat Novak and listening to his press conference he has the belief the can do it. I struggled to watch Wimbledon this year without Rafa but I am so glad I persevered and got to see Shapovalov , his game and his character, and maybe when the great 3 have retired I can still bear to watch the game.

      • I believe, that now than nole had gotten to 20 GS, it will be a tight race between Nadal and Novak… the only one who can stop Novak from running away with more GS, it’s Rafael… the new Generation it’s hollow ( way too hollow) if Rafael team’s mentally get Rafael fit, then it will be a dog fight… if roger was able to give a fight well into his 40’s Rafael can do the same… I do agree with you may, Novak had been very lucky when it mattered the most, Rafael hadn’t!!! What we can be 100/00 sure it’s that Novak won’t ever be able to take away from Rafael the mantle of king of clays… Rafael it’s coming back next year.

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