In a curious move, Rafael Nadal will make his debut this summer August 2nd in Washington, D.C. The Spaniard has accepted a wildcard to play the event instead of the Olympics and likely instead of Canada which is all goes well will be held the following week.
Clearly Washington met his price tag to play (over $1M?) but is there a bigger motivation here?
At 35, is he just spreading the Rafa love to places where he hasn’t played? If so, I commend him and it’s something maybe Roger Federer should think about doing (and if Novak Djokovic completes the Calendar Slam this year, maybe next year he can just try to win titles where he’s never played before…lol!).
Or does he just want to court time after a long layoff?
Or is he trying to make a big run at the US Open, a tournament he’s won more times in the last five years than Djokovic, and get to 21 before the Serb?
Whatever it is — and it may be a mix of all three plus the money — good for him. It signals he’s healthy and keen on playing well on the hardcourts and intent on going on a deep run in New York. It also sends a message to Novak: I’m not going away.
I know Rafa’s still got that bad taste in his mouth from that French Open defeat, but I think he’d be ok trading that loss for a title in New York and in the process stopping Djokovic’s Calendar Quest. Just a hunch, he’d be pretty happy doing that. A lot of people would be.
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