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 phenomenon 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 Majorcan, 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.
Fontang on Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal
“There are always new generations coming. There are some who are also leaving (laughs). There, with the absence of players like Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, there is room. A Rafa Nadal, if he had been there he would have stopped some players. The same goes for a Roger Federer. We would have had fewer young people at this level of competition if they had been competitive” – Frédéric Fontang stated. While winning the Calendar Slam would be a new feat for Novak Djokovic, it is pertinent to note that he has already held all four Majors at the same time. He won four Slams in a row during 2015-16, a run that culminated with his maiden Roland Garros triumph. “That’s where I first felt, OK this is reachable, it’s achievable. I can even do it in one year,” Novak Djokovic said. “I always believed that I have a very good chance to win every Slam on every surface because I developed over the years my game to be really an all-around game that can adapt to any game or any conditions. But in that moment, where I won French in 2016, it’s where I really started to really believe that it can become a reality one day that I can win it all in one year,” he added.