Roger Federer said Saturday that he’ll miss rival Rafael Nadal at the US Open, but admitted that the Spaniard’s absence does open for players like himself with the defending champion out.
“I’m more disappointed for the fans, his fans, and the tournament,” Federer said of Nadal’s withdrawal. “It’s more exciting with him.
“For us, the players, I mean, we hope he gets well and he feels better quickly and all these things and he’s back on tour soon. But at the same time, I think what stands out is the opportunity, to try to take advantage of him, the fact that he’s not here. It’s one less really difficult player to beat maybe.
“I mean, maybe he was not going to be in my section. Maybe I wouldn’t have played him at all, like I have never played him here in the last ten years anyways. I mean, it’s just that the focus is more on you or other players rather than him. Yeah, we, the players, don’t wish injuries to anyone, you know. So you just hope he recovers quickly.”
Federer and Nadal have never played at the US Open, the only same they’ve never faced each in their historic rivalry.
The Swiss, who is playing in his 60th straight Grand Slam, then went about how he has remained largely injury-free during his career compared to Rafa.
“I can’t talk for him,” Federer said. “I don’t know what he really does in terms of his fitness, in terms of his training when he’s home in Mallorca, how much he trains, how little he trains. It’s all, I’d say 50%, you know, next to the schedule what you play and how you play. So I feel like I have managed my career well in the sense that I believe in rest in a huge way.
“Whenever I get a chance to rest, I do. Whenever I can go on vacation, I do. I don’t want to keep on playing all the time and feel like I’m always doing something, because I think the body and mind, they need time to heal. Especially if you have inflammations and so forth. I’d rather skip a tournament here and there rather than missing three or six months, which has never happened to me.”
Federer opens his bid for a 6th US Open title on Tuesday night or Wednesday afternoon against Marinko Matosevic.
“I’m looking forward to this tournament, because I really feel like I can play a great tournament,” he said. “I hope I can show that on the court this year.”
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