Rafael Nadal met the media yesterday in Washington D.C. where he’ll play his first event since a semifinal loss to Novak Djokovic at the French Open.
Despite a loss Friday in the Tokyo Olympics ending his Golden Slam hopes, Djokovic’s bid for a Calendar Slam is still the big story this summer, and Nadal wouldn’t be surprised to see the Serb get it at the US Open.
“He already won three,” Nadal said Sunday. “So when you win three, you can win four, without a doubt, no? He did 75% of the way. He going to be playing on hard court, probably his best surface. So why not?
“Of course is something difficult. Going to be another guys that wanted to achieve the last slam of the season. But, yeah, of course he’s one of the clear favorites, probably the most favorite player to achieve that.
“I definitely believe that he can do it, without a doubt.”
And if Djokovic does with in New York, he’ll break the current tie he shares with Nadal and Roger Federer atop the Grand Slam leaderboard at 20. Of course he missed a chance at Wimbledon, an event he said he couldn’t play due to a foot problem.
“If I had to choose, I will never miss Wimbledon and Olympics,” Nadal said. “But I was not able to compete in these events after the clay court season. I had some issues in my foot, so I had to stop playing tennis for around 20 days, not touching a racquet for 20 days. I started slowly, practicing half an hour, then little bit more. So I went through the whole process.”
Nadal’s new focus is on his first trip to Washington and his first event in almost two months and first appearance in the America since the 2019 US Open.
“I am excited to be back playing in America after more than a year without playing here, especially playing in front of the full crowd, no, full stadiums,” he said. “It’s something we are not seeing for such a long time. So going to be a great feeling again and I am very excited about it.
“I love to be here in Washington because is not only a new event for me, is a new city,” Nadal added. “I am able to visit one of the most important cities in the world. And honestly, it’s a very beautiful city. I have been able to walk around little bit the last couple of days. I am very impressed. I hope to have a chance to visit little bit more the city during the next couple of days.”
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