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Nadal and Federer Out Of US Open; Djokovic Battling Injury
Wednesday, 08/25/2021
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by Nikki Adams

The 2021 US Open will go ahead without Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer,  opening the door for Novak Djokovic to surpass his longstanding rivals in the race to the most Grand Slam titles. Thus, books across the board are giving the Serbian starlet a good chance to accomplish the feat.
Roger Federer was the first of the ‘Big Three’ in tennis to announce his season was over prematurely. The Swiss maestro released an Instagram video ahead of the 2021 US Open in which he announced that he’d unfortunately suffered another injury setback and, as a result, he’d require knee surgery again. His recovery is expected to take many months and his return is as yet undetermined.
“I want to be healthy," Federer said. "I want to be running around later, as well, again, and I want to give myself a glimmer of hope, also, to return to the tour in some shape or form,” Federer said.
Of course, Federer, who turned 40 this month, is under no illusions about the significance of a third knee surgery or its implications at his age. Touching on it when he said, “I am realistic, don’t get me wrong. I know how difficult it is at this age right now to do another surgery and try it.”
Federer stressed the fact that he had no choice in the matter if he wanted to continue playing into his 40s. “Unfortunately, they [doctors] told me for the medium- to long-term, to feel better, I will need surgery, so I decided to do it."
The injury likely occurred during the grass-court swing according to Federer. “I’ve been doing a lot of checks with the doctors, as well, on my knee, getting all the information as I hurt myself further during the grass-court season and Wimbledon,” Federer said. 
The injury setback comes after a brief return to full-time play in the spring of the 2021 ATP season. season and that saw Federer compete at two of the year’s four Grand Slams – the French Open and Wimbledon. Federer reached the R16 at Roland Garros but withdrew. At his beloved Wimbledon Championships, he reached the quarterfinals before losing to Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz. After the devastating defeat, Federer dropped out of the Tokyo Olympics.
Rafael Nadal announced this week that he too will be missing out on the 20201 US Open as he joins Roger Federer on the side-lines for the rest of the 2021 season.
The cause behind Nadal’s withdrawal is a chronic problem with his left foot. This means that for the second straight season, Nadal will not be traveling to Flushing Meadows where he won his fourth US Open crown in 2019. 
Nadal, who turned 35 years of age in June, made the announcement last week via social media in Spanish. He also posted a video in English in which he elaborated further about his chronic foot problem and his decision to rest for the remainder of the season.
“I am confident I will recover myself 100 percent and I will be able to fight again for the most important things,” Nadal said.
For those avid tennis fans, and huge admirers of the Big Three, this must feel like the end. Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have commanded the ATP Tour like no other players in the game’s history. No matter which player one supported, the level of tennis, the sheer brilliance of their game and the awesomeness of their rivalry was something to behold.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that Federer’s or Nadal’s career is over. The desire is clearly there as both players were at pains to stress their desire to return and play at peak potential. And to compete for the major titles. For now though, there’s merely one man standing: Novak Djokovic. And if the tennis odds were any indication, he’s poised to surpass the pair in the men’s all-time Grand Slam title.
Federer and Nadal are tied with Novak Djokovic with 20 wins. Now, with the pair giving the US Open a skip, Djokovic emerges as the top bet according to multiple top-rated sportsbooks. Moreover, few would bet against him when his path appears clear to claim a 21st Grand Slam title that would establish him as the best of the ‘Big Three’ for the time being.
Should Djokovic win the 2021 US Open, which would mark his fourth at Flushing Meadows, he would complete the calendar grand slam – winning all four majors. He would become only the second man after Rod Laver to accomplish the feat, thereby setting himself apart in yet another category from his  biggest rivals.
Having said that Djokovic appears to be facing injury question marks too. So, Djokovic isn’t a sure thing in the betting either and the US Open may well be wide open. That could certainly open the door to a slew of young guns that frankly have been waiting in the wings for far too long to crash the ‘Big Three’ party at the top.