The absence of the Spaniard in the last Grand Slam tournament of the year has opened the avenue for the likes of Roger Federer and Djokovic to face fewer obstacles in the forthcoming US Open when it begins on Monday. The 14th-time Grand Slam champion and defending US Open winner has lately being nagged by a wrist injury that Djokovic attributes to his playing style.
"He slides a lot and spends a lot of energy on each shot. His joints, his body suffers a lot and it is not easy", Djokovic said. "But again, he has found a way always of coming back."
According to the Guardian, Djokovic is referring to the 2013 season when Rafa came back from a seven-month long absence. He made an astonishing run that resulted to 10 titles and personal best 14 finals appearances to capture the number one spot for the third time in his career. Djokovic stressed his respect for his rival citing the motivation and competitive spirit of the Spaniard as the one that fuels him to always come back better and in tip top shape.
The other favorite in the forthcoming tournament, Roger Federer is on track to win a sixth US Open title and set the record. He observes that the absence of Nadal opens up the avenues for all the other players but the level of the competition takes a hit and eventually, the tournament as well.
"It is not necessarily dependent, an event like this, on one player, but it is more exciting with him", Federer said. "For us, the players, I mean, we hope he gets well and he feels better quickly and all these things and he is back on tour soon".
Federer is in the driver seat among the favorites being mentioned and it appears that he is in the best shape before facing his first match against a wild but equally skilled Marinko Matosevic. The Australian handily beat David Ferrer to capture the Cincinnati Open last weekend notably using a new racket and form that could spell some trouble to the world's number two player.
Djokovic is set to open the salvo with Argentinian Diego Schwartzman, an equally talented player who just flies under the radar. If everything goes as the ranking was predicted, the more dangerous match-up that is waiting down the line is against Andy Murray in the quarterfinals. Murray ended Djokovic's US Open aspirations two years ago when he beat him during the final match.