Rafael Nadal pulls out of Cincinnati

(Reuters) – Rafael Nadal’s U.S. Open preparations have suffered another setback after the Spaniard withdrew from next week’s Cincinnati hardcourt event with a nagging foot issue, organisers of the Masters 1000 tournament said on Wednesday.

(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Nadal suffered a shock exit last week in Washington, where he kicked off his lead-up to the U.S. Open, and on Tuesday pulled out of the ongoing Masters 1000 event in Toronto with a left-foot issue.

In his pre-tournament news conference in Toronto on Sunday, Nadal said a recurring foot issue he has been dealing with since 2005 returned at the French Open, where he fell to eventual champion Djokovic in the semi-finals. 

When discussing his Toronto withdrawal Nadal, who also sat out Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics, said: “With this pain, I am not able to enjoy, and I really don’t believe that I have chances to fight for the things that I really need to fight.”

The U.S. Open runs from Aug. 30-Sept. 12.

Source: Reuters


  1. More bad news for tennis – unfortunately Dominic Thiem has re-injured his wrist after starting to to practice again. He has withdrawn from USO and won’t play again this year. He’s trying further rest, but it sounds like surgery is being considered if that doesn’t work. Wish you well, Domi.

  2. I do not understand Margint’s comments at all.How can anyone call themselves a fan and be so critical of him .We are all very upset that he can’t play and are worried for his tennis future but he will have the best medical advice and treatment .

    • I agree with you MaryR. All genuine Rafa fans are very concerned about his painful foot problem and whether it might bring a premature end to his glittering career. Most of us are hoping it won’t come to that and prefer to stay positive whilst Rafa explores his options. (I hardly dare to contemplate what the ATP Tour will be like without Rafa!)

      The fact is that some of us are natural optimists, some of us are realists and the rest of us (a tiny but very vocal minority) are natural pessimists. I wish I fell into the first category (optimists do tend to be happy souls) but I believe I am a realist at heart. Thankfully, I am not a pessimist (who tend to be sad souls). It is the pessimists who have already concluded that Rafa is “on his way out”, as though it is a foregone conclusion.

      Those who relentlessly criticise Rafa’s decisions and/or play believe they know better than Rafa and his Team what he should do or not do. They don’t and can’t know that. Whilst everyone on this site is entitled to express an honestly held opinion about what they would like Rafa to do on court or in his career, they should nevertheless always choose their words with care, to avoid causing offence. (They should also resist the temptation to say the same thing again and again, because a point well-made does not need to be continually repeated). I believe that Rafa has earned and deserves our total respect and admiration; and, as “rafafans”, surely he can reasonably expect our loyalty and support too. We shall miss him dearly when he does retire.

      Those who can’t do that should simply transfer their allegiance elsewhere. I am sure there are plenty of other sites out there where disrespecting others (and winding people up in the process) is the ‘name of the game’.

    • Mary R,

      what is wrong in your opinion with a critical rafa fan. I have been a rafa fan since 2005. Dont you think that my critism is legimitate.

  3. Are Roger and Rafa coordinating their announcements of bad news? Roger last week and Rafa fhis week? It makes for a sad period for long time fans.

    And respectfully please spare me the endless debates on whether Rafa doesn’t play enough or plays too much.

    Rafa won two tournaments this year and lost early in Monte Carlo and Madrid. How could that be too much playing time? He had not played at all after Australia and obviously needed the work. Rafa looked good in Rome and only lost one set at the FO until the semi final. Who can say whether he might have beat Djokovic but for the foot pain?

    So give Rafa and his fans a break. Its Rafa’s health and Rafa’s career. Let him make the decisions.

    • I wholeheartedly agree David. Rafa has always been and remains a truly outstanding and unique player. He is a dedicated professional and knows how to get the best out of himself. We do not. We should respect his decisions about where, when, and indeed how often to play. I know I do and always have. It seems that a tiny minority on this site believe they know better. They don’t.

  4. Some journalists needs to start to ask you some tough questions to tennisplayers. For example if i would have been a journalist and have the opportunity to interview nadal. I would seriously ask him why at the age of 35 he still thinks in order to be prepared for the french open he needs to play 4 clay court tournaments instead of one. And is he not blowing up his body by keep doing that and then giving a lid on the rest of the season

  5. Roger has just announced that he will have another knee surgery and miss many months. He hopes to give himself a chance to come back in some shape or form. That remains to be seen. Wishing him the best but he should come to terms with the fact that while the spirit is willing the flesh is weak. Life will go on without tennis.

  6. No one knows what the future holds for any of us healthwise. Rafa, I will stay optimistic for you and hope that, with rest, good care and treatment, you will be back fresh next season. One of the things I love about you is that you are always full of hope and determination and I know you will adjust your schedule accordingly. Best wishes going forward.

  7. As I expect he will skip also the us open. I am very dissapointed and not interested in his pain to be honest. This year has become a total disaster for nadal. Started with backpain and now footpain.

    I hope he will come back but i doubt it to be honest. I will not be suprise if he has the same problem as federer and that his foot can not be healed in that case he will retire with 20 grandslam titles. The younger guys are getting stronger and stronger. Nadal always said as long as i can compete with the guys i am gonna keep playing. Nr 1 condition is that you need to be 100% fit and healthy

    The biggest mistake he made was playing so many clay court titles. That was just too much for him and he suffer because of that. I dont think he will learn from it and play again 5 clay court tournaments next year.

    All of you have faith I am sceptical.

    • We all know that Rafa likes to prepare for the French Open by playing the clay court tournaments in Europe which precede it. It is a very tight schedule of course, which is not ideal. However, even if he were prepared in principle to cut back on his clay court schedule, it would be very difficult for him to do that.

      Rome provides the best preparation for the French Open because the conditions there are not so different from those in Paris. So, I don’t see him avoiding Rome. It would be difficult for him to give up on playing Barcelona because it is, in effect, his “home” tournament. (The Catalans and Majorcans are closely “related” historically and culturally and, as we all know, the Centre Court there is named after him.) The playing conditions in Madrid do not suit Rafa but how can the best Spanish player of all time avoid playing in Spain’s biggest tournament? That only leaves Monte Carlo as a possibility.

      I am, however, not convinced that Rafa needs to or should reduce his playing schedule on clay. Whilst players do have to work hard for their points on clay and the matches do tend to be quite long, it is a much more forgiving surface than hard court. Rafa believes that playing on hard courts is much more damaging to the body and has often complained that too many tournaments are played on hard courts. (We know that 2 out of 4 Majors and 6 out of 9 Masters, as well as the ATP Finals, are played on hard courts.) Also, Rafa much prefers to play on clay and it is undoubtedly his best surface. (He has won a record number of titles on clay, including a record number of Majors and a record number of Masters.) I don’t see Rafa cutting back on his clay court schedule next year, assuming (and hoping) that he is able to recover from this latest and, perhaps, the most serious setback of his playing career.

      Finally, I am very disappointed that anyone on this site would say that they are not interested in Rafa’s pain. Anyone who cares about Rafa must surely be very concerned that he is in pain and that the pain in his left foot in particular is so serious that it could effectively bring his career to an end! HOW HEARTLESS!

      • I am very sorry but rafa is not my family he is a tennis star I dont have close relationship with him so i am not interested in pain but in results and achievements.

        By playing 5 tournaments in clay knowing that he has not a service like djokovic so he cant win free points but have to rely on his fitness. That was possible when he was 25 years old he cant now he is 35 years. Clay is a tough surface normally a player when he is getting older he is cutting playing tournaments and only play tournaments that are important.

        You are saying is difficult to give up barcelona because it his hometournament or how can he not play madrid because he is the best player on clay. At this time in your career you need to stop being like by people and you need to be willing to say no to the organization to the crowd.

        Rafa has won 11 times monte carlo, 12 times barcelona and 5 times madrid. Why does he constantly needs to play these tournaments together with rome in order to prepare for the french open. What does he still have to prove on these tournaments what is in it for him.

        He keeps playing all these tournaments with rome and then plays french open and then when the hardcourt and indoor season starts then all of the sudden he complains about fatigue and injuries how he is unable to play his best.

        Last year nadal played only rome before the french open and look how sharp and fresh he was at the french open.

        I dont understand why he at his age in his career is not looking for new challenges like for example doing better on hardcourt or perphaps the indoor season. They are still tournaments he hasnt won before such as: sjanghai indoor, paris indoor and the atp finals or the tournament of miami

  8. Thanks for the update Marileena!

    Very sad, but important for Rafa to heal his foot. Hope the new treatment works. That’s most important!

    Rafa get well and please return in 2022 – healthy and perfectly fit to play!


  9. A friend just sent me a repost from FB….

    It reads ….. “The news about Rafa’s foot is not good…. He will begin a new treatment plan….skip the US Open and possibly end his season……”

    This is not a surprise… I had heard he had left Toronto and went straight to Barcelona where he had met with Dr Cortorro….

    The most I can hope for is that Rafa does whatever is necessary as per his doctors instructions and get that foot healed, and become strong and healthy once again… 2022. isn’t that far away…..

    Take care of yourself Rafa…. Keep your head up…. We miss you already in NY….

    • what if its cronical injury. You have start wondering if its time for him to retire he can not compete if he is not 100% healthy and fit.

      Perhaps he should look also in his eating habits.

      • I’m sure he’ll get the best advice. Rafa’s foot problem is NOT his doing!!! Let’s stay positive and support him!

      • Oh Marijnt….. Do you honestly think that Rafa hasn’t taken care of himself right down to his very diet? Come on now….. Rafa is an International superstar sports athlete…. His body is his “temple” and in order to have achieved the phenomenal success for the past 20 years he has followed his doctor’s and physio’s advice…. I don’t think he eats potato chips in the middle of the night….
        If this injury is considered “chronic” and I’m not a doctor but it would seem so… then Rafa’s physician, Dr Angel- Ruiz Cotorro (who has helped him battle this problem for years.) is the one who would ultimately tell him whether or not tennis is still on the horizon for Rafa.. There is a really good article you might enjoy reading that came out in April of this year…
        Just check out “Sportskeeda.com Rafa and Dr Angel-Ruiz Cotorro” It will give you some insight into the relationship Rafa has with his Doctor and how Rafa credits his Doctor with much of his success winning tournaments…

        As far as the clay court season…. I happen to agree with you that Rafa needs to shorten it… The days of going back to back to back to back have to change but I’m not convinced it’s because of all that play that Rafa has problems now…. The truth is we don’t know what pain Rafa was experiencing during the clay court season…when/where it started and how he dealt with it…. He’s very private about these things.
        We only know that Rafa “seemed ” to be alright when facing Djokovic in the first set at RG…but who knows when his foot really affected him…. we only know by the 4th set Rafa was done and only afterwards the word trickled out that Rafa had a “foot injury.” Even I took it lightly…

        Don’t be so hard on him…. I know you are very opinionated but always know to reach the kind of level of success that Rafa Nadal has reached…. He has access to the biggest and best of medical expertise there is in this world… He LOVES playing tennis and competing!!! He is calculated and meets with his team of experts and so believe me when I say he doesn’t take chances…. At this time in life he is a successful business man, he owns tennis academy’s all over the world…. he has many successful restaurants…. he has a day named after him on his b-day as “Tennis Day” …what an honor!!! But most of all…. he doesn’t act like he’s 25…. He might wish he was as he jokes around about it…. but with all is injuries and challenges Rafa has many times has said he feels “old.”

        Anyway… be kinder towards him… He’s done everything humanly possible to give his all to his fan base…. He deserves the same respect…..

  10. All I can say is Rafa I hope you can recover completely. Take your time, heal, get fit in every way and I pray you will still play in the future even if it takes a bit longer than expected.

    All the very best for a good recovery! Longing to see you play well again fit and feee of pain.

    Love you!!!


  11. Thanks Jas_UK for the information, I found a tweet on line from someone named Luigi Gatto that confirms what you said, i.e., Rafa has or will soon consult with Dr. Ruiz-Cotorrow in Spain about his foot. This tweet was from two days ago. According to Gatto (unknown to me), Rafa will then make a decision about New York.

    Thanks also to Margo and others for sources of information on the medical aspect of the problem.

  12. USO in doubt now :’-(
    Even if he recovers, with hardly any match practice…..its gonna be difficult.
    Anyway, he should focus on full recovery and then maybe Shanghai, Paris and (if the results work) the WTf would be sufficient for this year
    Recover soon Rafa, tennis is really starting to get boring without you.

      • Rafa has never won the Shanghai Masters but has done very well in Indian Wells, winning it 3 times (though not since 2013). I understand that it is one of Rafa’s favourite hard court tournaments. The playing conditions at Indian Wells suit him (dry and warm which produces a high bounce off topspin forehand) and Larry Ellison, who owns the tournament, ensures that the players are really well looked after during their stay, especially Rafa, whom I believe he is very fond of. Let’s hope that Rafa can recover in time to play there (though it is a long way to go for only one tournament). We shall just have to wait and see.

      • None of us know what the future holds for us healthwise. I am just amazed that Rafa has coped with his foot condition for so many years (sixteen years longer than expected), but thankful that he’s had such a fantastic career up to now.

        It’s an occupational hazard of tennis players that they pick up injuiries. It’s been reported that Rafa has Muller-Weiss disease – a complex, degenerative disease. I’m not a doctor, but I find the information on it fascinating and explanatory.
        As we get older, inevitably our body changes and so it is with Rafa, where adjustments have had to be made to his orthotics.

        Yes, Rafa could play less clay tournaments – mainly because he’s won everything multiple times- but it’s unreasonable to blame clay courts for his injury, when we all know that hard courts take the greatest toll on his body. He plays with varying levels of pain most of the time and indeed, injuries to his foot, knees and back over the years may all be linked.

        As Rafa fans, we miss his presence on court, but he is in good medical hands and all we can do is wait for the prognosis in the days and weeks to follow. Take good care of yourself, champ.

      • No, but it’s been confirmed by a source that I trust that Rafa is “back in Europe” (i.e. not necessarily Mallorca). That might suggest he’s visiting Dr Ruiz-Cotorro, or it could just mean he’s gone out on his boat. No news is probably good news at this point.

  13. For those of you who want to know a little more about Rafa’s left foot, @genny_ss has posted an interview Rafa did with English subtitles from last November where he talks about it from the start.

    His book “Rafa My Story” also covers it in detail, The book is still a great read although it only covers his life and career through 2010. The left foot injury was the first disabling injury he had and first cropped up in 2004. He says that injury was the reason he learned that he could suffer a career ending injury at any time and from that knowledge he drew, not despair, but a resolution to make every point count because he would never know when it would be his last.

  14. Rafa, the only experts that understand the Scaphoid injury you’ve carried from a youth are your medical consultants. No matter, from my own point of view, the longer it will take to heal so that you can carry on with your career, the better. Keeping you in prayers for complete healing & that your return to us will show the sporting World how dedicated & a wonderful Champion you are.

    • If anyone can come back from this Rafa can. Unlike Roger and Djokovic, his two main rivals for GOAT, Rafa has had to deal with a number of injuries and set backs THROUGHOUT his illustrious career. Commentators were writing him off way back in 2009 and have done so several times since. Each time he has proven the doubters wrong. It was of course easier to overcome such setbacks when he was younger. At 35, it certainly won’t be easy now but we know he will give it his all, as he always has; because he is not only a warrior on court. He is a warrior off court too! Giving up is just not in Rafa’s DNA; which is just one of the many reasons why Rafa is so much admired and respected by his fellow professionals and so loved by his millions of fans around the world.

      I know that Rafa can’t go on forever and I certainly don’t want Rafa to play in pain. I also realise that the likes of Medvedev, Tsitsipas and Zverev are now beginning to realise their full potential. (I think they are all capable of winning Majors in the near future.) Big hitters, especially those with big serves, have always troubled Rafa, especially on hard courts, because, unlike them, he has never been able to rely upon a big serve to win a few ‘cheap’ points or to get him out of trouble. Instead he has tended to rely upon the strength of his return game (one of the best ever returners) and his fantastic court craft and footwork. However, Rafa will not be able to continue to do this against the top players if he is in pain and/or if his movement is impaired. So we must hope that complete rest and appropriate rehab will enable Rafa to return fully fit. Talent does not diminish with age and we know that Rafa has plenty of that but he needs to be able to move freely without pain in order to continue to play at the highest level. Let’s hope that he can do that after a suitable period of rest.

      I suspect that Rafa will not now play the US Open. Personally, I would rather he didn’t unless he is fully recovered by then. In my opinion, Rafa should only play in New York if he believes he is fit enough to win seven matches on hard courts against tough opposition. Nothing will be gained if he loses in the first week because his foot is still painful.

      Very best wishes to Rafa for a full recovery.

  15. I came across the following which is a little dated but I feel it still relevant. I did not check for accuracy.

    Google “What are the injuries Rafael Nadal has had and why Quora Caleb Pareira

  16. I do wish I knew more about the medical issues that are causing Rafa’ s foot pain and no I don’t think its psychological. The things I am sure about are that Rafa will make a come back if it is possible at all and he is dedicated to the process.
    That’s enough for me for now.

  17. Maybe Rafa wont play again this year but I would like to see him at Wimbledon in 2022 even if he doesn’t get far, its just great to see him on grass at the most important open in the world. the 2008 match is the greatest match I’ve ever seen.and most experts say IS the greatest grass court match ever, .
    So lets hope he can get his injuries fixed, also for the French open
    Rafas getting near the end of his career because of injuries, not his playing ability and sadly we have to accept that.

  18. Let’s face that the tennis year is finish. But i’m afraid that at his age all carier to be finished. Anyway i think he will never win a major in future… But let’s… And if i will have right i will wait the sorry of all people who insult me… Until than vamos rafa

    • Why do you think that you can predict the future for Rafa? Are you a medical expert, what professional knowledge have you got. I’m not insulting you but challenging you as
      to how you made this judgement.
      Rafa has met many challenges throughout his career and I hope that he will be back on court fit and well again.
      We need positivity not negativity,

      • I totally agree Elizabeth. We all know that Rafa is struggling with his foot problem, which appears to be quite serious, but it is way too soon to give up on Rafa and conclude that his career is over! The vast majority on this site want him to recover and return to action and hope that he will. Let’s stay positive and wait and see.
        Unfortunately, a small minority on this site appear to derive the greatest of pleasures from expressing negative opinions about Rafa. Rafandy’s comments are indeed very revealing; not about Rafa but about Rafandy.

      • Am i a doctor? No i’m not. But you don’t want to see the real situation: rafa”s age rafa’s doubts rafa’s injuries. If you cumulate these factors maybe you will realise that… I know is hatd to recunoised that becouse we all love rafa… But don”t blame me for my opinion and being pesimistic. Trust me i want very much to be wrong but until he will won those are my convictions… Vamos rafa nd make me sorry for i doubt you nd make us proud to be your fans again.

  19. Rafa you are not ready to play if you have your foot injury let hailing it takes times vamosssssss champ we are going to miss you play get well👍🎾👍🇺🇸

  20. It comes as no surprise that Rafa has pulled out of Cinci. Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix for his Injury, as only time will heal.

    Looking at the wider field, injuries abound on the ATP tour.

    Rafael Nadal – foot
    Stan Warwinka – foot
    Roger Federer – knee
    Matteo Berrettini – thigh
    Kei Nishikori – shoulder
    Dominic Thiem – wrist
    Andy Murray – groin
    Milos Rionic – calf
    Juan Martine Del Potro – knee

    Most of these players have long standing injuries and are going through a slow recovery process. Age plays a part in the speed of recovery and it’s no co-incidence that the majority of them are 30+ years old.

    My best wishes go to all of them, in the hope that they get back to good physical health before too long.

    • Rafa has always said that too many tournaments are played on hard courts, which do take a much greater physical toll on the body, unlike clay and grass which are more forgiving.
      The cynics may say that Rafa would say that, given that his best surface is clay, but there can be no doubt that the majority of the big tournaments on the ATP Tour are indeed played on hard courts. Majors (2 of 4), Masters (6 of 9) and the ATP Finals.
      In view of this it is all the more impressive that Rafa has managed to accumulate 20 Majors and 36 Masters, which ties him with Djokovic on both, whose favourite and best surface is hard court. It is a pity that the ATP Finals have always been played on hard courts, as I am sure that if some of them had been played on clay, Rafa would have won those. So the ATP Tour definitely favours those whose best surface is hard court.

  21. Rafa, take your time…see you again whenever you are ready. Take care, hope the pain will go away soon.
    Stay safe!❤️

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