Rafael Nadal, the star power of the U.S. Open, has been forced to retire due to a foot injury. He will be sidelined for the remainder of the season.

His announcement further reduces the number of players in this year’s final major tennis tournament. Roger Federer is already out, as well as Dominic Thiem, last year’s champion.

Novak Djokovic now faces another hurdle because Nadal is not there. He will be attempting to win a calendar-year Grand Slam with Novak Djokovic without any of his long-standing rivals at Flushing Meadows.

Nadal stated in a social media video that “I regret to announce that I will not be able to continue playing tennis during 2021 season.” “But, as I know, I have been struggling too much with my feet for the past year and I missed many important events for myself.”

Federer is undergoing knee surgery. He said last weekend that he will not be playing in New York because of this. Thiem announced this week that he will end his season following the June injury to his right wrist.

Djokovic, Federer, and Nadal share the men’s record for 20 Grand Slam singles titles. Djokovic will be attempting to surpass his rivals in the Grand Slam pursuit. He won the Australian Open in Feb, the French Open June, and Wimbledon July.

Federer and Nadal also sat out last year’s U.S. Open — Federer due to the pandemic, Federer due to two operations on his right knee in 2020.

In 2019, Nadal won the tournament for one of his four trophies from New York.

Next week’s U.S. Open draw will be held, and main draw play begins on Aug. 30.

Federer (40), Nadal (35) or Djokovic (34), have ruled men’s tennis for over 15 years. They have won the most important tournaments in the sport and traded the No. 1.

Djokovic defeated Nadal in semifinals of the French Open, and then the Spaniard was unable to compete at Wimbledon or the Olympics due to fatigue.

The fourth-ranked Nadal spoke in the video and said that the foot pain he has suffered for most of his professional career was too much.

He said, “During the past year I wasn’t able to practice or prepare the way that I need to to be competitive at my desired standards.” The injury is not new. This is the same injury that I have had since 2005. The doctors made a very negative assessment of my career prospects at that time. However, I can honestly say that I was able have a career that I never dreamed of, and I’m confident that I will be able to recover.”

Nadal said he will fight every day because he believes he still has “a few beautiful years” in his career.

This year, he won two tournaments on clay in Rome and Barcelona.