TORONTO (AP) — Rafael Nadal pulled out of the National Bank Open on Tuesday because of an injured left foot that has troubled him for months, putting his preparation for the U.S. Open on hold.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion was replaced in the draw at the hard-court tournament in Toronto by Feliciano Lopez, who lost in qualifying.
“I need to go back and try to find a way to be better again, no? At the end of the day, for me, the most important thing is (to) enjoy playing tennis. Today, with this pain, I am not able to enjoy it,” said Nadal, a five-time champion in Canada. “And I really don’t believe that I have chances to fight for the things that I really need to fight for.”
The 35-year-old from Spain played last week at the hard-court event in Washington, winning his first match against Jack Sock and losing his second to Lloyd Harris — both in three sets. Nadal was bothered by the foot there.
That marked his first competition in about two months. After losing to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals of the French Open on June 11, Nadal sat out Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics because of the injury and went about three weeks without practicing at all.
In Washington, Nadal said Tuesday, “I was suffering, especially in that first match. And I was suffering on the practices, too, but you always expect an improvement.”
The U.S. Open starts Aug. 30 in New York.
Nadal missed that tournament last year, but won it the last time he entered, in 2019.
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