Fontang: “Roger Federer and Nadal would have blocked many young players”

The 2021 edition of the US Open had to deal with a large number of absences. In addition to defending champion Dominic Thiem, who is still out of action due to a wrist problem, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have not traveled to New York for the last Grand Slam of the season either.

In the case of the Swiss and the Spaniard, this is the second consecutive withdrawal from the New York tournament. The Basel champion has just operated on his right knee for the third time in the last year and a half, a painful decision made necessary by the relapse accused by the King at Wimbledon.

As for the Mallorcan, his year was heavily affected by a foot injury. The 35-year-old from Manacor tried to return to the field on the Washington fast, but soon had to surrender to the pain. Both ended their 2021 prematurely, hoping to see them back in action next year for a final ride (especially Federer).

In a recent interview with L’Equipe, Frédéric Fontang, coach of Felix Auger-Aliassime, focused on the impact that Roger and Rafa’s absences have had on the 2021 US Open.

Federer and Nadal have already closed their season

He said: “There are always new generations pushing hard to get to the top. This process involves the removal or the progressive decline of the older generation tennis players. There is no doubt that the absences of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have significantly increased the chances of many players in these US Open.

If there had been Rafa on the scoreboard, he would have stopped the run of many talents on the launch pad. The same goes for Roger. I understand the disappointment of the people for their sacrifices, but in this way we had the opportunity to admire many guys who will be the champions of the futur.”

Federer played a pittance of 13 official matches in all of 2021, while Nadal limited himself to seven tournaments (winning a couple on his beloved clay). The end of an era now seems to be upon us, although the pride of certain champions should never be underestimated.