Mumbai, August 5
Rafael Nadal’s determination to skip the US Open due to well being issues has added one other twist to the intriguing three-way battle for probably the most profession males’s Grand Slam titles and, in lots of eyes, the title of Greatest of All Time (GOAT).
Had the 34-year-old Spaniard managed to retain the title he gained in a five-set thriller in opposition to Daniil Medvedev final yr, he would have joined Roger Federer on the prime of the checklist with 20 titles.
Instead, his determination has cleared the trail for 33-year-old Novak Djokovic to edge to inside one among Nadal’s Grand Slam tally with a fourth title at Flushing Meadows and 18 in complete.
If it may appear unfair to gloss over the possibilities of the opposite 127 males within the US Open primary draw, it should be remembered that Federer, Nadal and Djokovic have shared the final 13 Grand Slam titles between them.
Only Djokovic of the Big Three will probably be current in New York later this month with Federer, who turns 39 on Saturday, electing to bear double knee surgical procedure that may side-line him for the remainder of 2020.
Not because the final century – the 1999 US Open – have each Federer and Nadal been absent from the primary draw at a Grand Slam.
The COVID-19 pandemic has left little untouched on the earth of sport and the race for GOAT standing is not any exception, not least within the cancellation of the Wimbledon championships for the primary time since World War II.
Nadal’s determination to skip the US Open was maybe made simpler by the truth that he’ll retain his rating factors from final yr beneath the re-jigged system and by the proximity of the postponed French Open on the finish of September.
On the clay courts of Roland Garros, Nadal has proved nearly unbeatable during the last decade-and-a-half, profitable his 12th title in 16 makes an attempt in Paris final yr.
That means any potential acquire on Nadal for Djokovic within the GOAT race from the US Open may very well be short-lived.
The Serbian world No. 1 was a kind of who had been sceptical about travelling to the US Open however was all current and proper when the entries had been introduced on Tuesday.
Djokovic examined constructive for the novel coronavirus at his Adria Tour exhibition in June however will hope he has recovered sufficiently to increase the 21-match unbeaten run he was on earlier than the season got here to a halt in early March.
Swiss Stan Wawrinka was the final participant outdoors the Big Three to win a Grand Slam when he beat Djokovic within the US Open closing in 2016 however he too will probably be absent from New York later this month for as but undisclosed causes. Reuters