(August 26, 2022) FLUSHING MEADOWS, New York – On 2022 US Open Media Day, where the top players do news conferences with the media, No. 2 seed Rafael Nadal says that he’s happy for be back for the first time since he won it in 2019.
“Couple years without having the chance to be here since 2019. Of course, excited to play here. It’s one of the most important places in my tennis career, without a doubt.
“So just looking for every single practice to be better and better, just be competitive from the first round. So let’s see.”
Nadal on his abdominal injury:
“Well, have been tough deal with tear in abdominal. Is a tough injury because it’s dangerous, it’s risky. When you have a scar, it’s a place that you put lot of effort when you are serving.
“You need to find flexibility again because when you have a scar there, beginning is not flexible, is very easy to understand. The risk of breaking when you are doing an important movement back there on a thing that is not flexible like before, the risk is higher.
“I take it very easy in the Cincinnati, too, in the practices. The match, I try my best without putting all the effort there on the serve.
“I fight until the end. I had my chances. Here I am practicing. I am doing things the best way that I can. I hope to be ready for the action, no? That’s the only thing that I can say.
“I have what I have. With the tools that I have today, I hope to be competitive enough to give myself a chance.”
“I am practicing at high level of intensity. I’m quite happy the way that I am playing.
“Of course, we need to compete later. But is already two weeks on the tour, even if only one match professional, official. But practicing every day with the guys help me, without a doubt. I played sets every day for the last five days. That helps, of course.
“Before Cincinnati I just played two sets there before the tournament start, so it’s difficult. Even if I had my chance, the preparation have been not very long, but I gave myself a chance there. Was not possible. Let’s try here again, no, with a better preparation. From my perspective, I am practicing quite well. Let’s see what can happen, but I am happy with the practices.”
On the tournament missing Novak Djokovic:
“Well, in some way we know that Novak will not play for a while if nothing change in terms of the rules, no? We know that since months ago.
“From my personal perspective, is very sad news. It’s always a shame when the best players of the world are not able to play a tournament because of injuries or because of different reasons.
“In this case, not having one of the best players of the history in the draw of Grand Slam is always an important miss, no?
“As I said, tough for the fans, tough for the tournament. In my opinion, tough for the players, too, because we want to have the best field possible.
“But in the other hand, I repeat what I said plenty of times: the sport in some ways is bigger than any player. I missed a lot of important events in my tennis career because of injuries, without a doubt. Last year I was not here. Two years ago I was not here. The tournament continues. The world of tennis keep going.
“Even if is not a good news for everyone, the world continues and the tennis will continue after me, after Novak, after Roger. Every year will be for the slams champion. That’s it.
“Without a doubt, Novak is one of the most important players of the last 20 years, the history of our sport. In a personal way I feel sorry for him that he’s not able to travel here.”
Nadal is scheduled to play his first-round match on Tuesday versus No. 198 Rinky Hijikata of Australia who received a wild card.
Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News @TennisNewsTPN.