Rafael Nadal ‘feels sorry’ for Novak Djokovic but the tennis world goes on

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic

Rafael Nadal has likened Novak Djokovic missing the US Open because he was unable to enter the United States to the big tournaments he has missed through injury.

Nadal said that it was a shame that Djokovic wouldn’t be in the feel but the tennis world still turns and the US Open is there to be won by all who have entered.

The Spaniard insists that no player is bigger than tennis itself.

Speaking from Flushing Meadows, Nadal said: “It’s very sad news. Not having one of the best players of the history in the draw of a Grand Slam is an important miss. We want to have the best field possible. But the sport is, in some ways, bigger than any player.”

Nadal felt that Djokovic’s withdrawal didn’t really come as a shock but him being missing from the US Open is tough for the fans.

“Well, in some way, we know that Novak will not play for a while if nothing changed in terms of the rules, no?” Nadal told a press conference.

“We know that since months ago from my personal perspective it’s 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 in history in the draw of a Grand Slam is always an important miss.

“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 the 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, but the tournament continues.

“The World of tennis keeps going.

“Even if it is not a good news for everyone the world continues and the tennis world will continue after me after Novak after Roger.

“Every year will be for the Grand Slam champions [of that year].

“That’s it. Without a doubt, Novak is one of the most important players of the last 20 years in the history of our sport, perhaps in a personal way. I feel sorry for him, that he’s not able to travel here.”

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Djokovic delayed his withdrawal from the tournament to give himself maximum time to earn an exemption or see the travel restrictions lifted, but as the week drew on it became clear he wouldn’t turn up in New York this year.

Nadal will bid for his 23rd career Grand Slam at Flushing Meadows but will do so far from unopposed with a number of strong contenders for Major glory scattered throughout the field.

The Spaniard will open his campaign against Australian wildcard Rinky Hijikata.