Carlos Alcaraz reaches US Open quarterfinal with late-night win against Marin Cilic (Getty)
Toni Nadal’s decision to pull out of the US Open draw, just four days before the tournament begins, was not a surprise, and was in many ways a foregone conclusion. Nadal has won the US Open title three times, with a fourth, five-in-a-row, to his name already. He is one of the best clay court players in the world, with a Grand Slam to his name, and Nadal has not had much luck on grass courts.
Having won a second consecutive French Open in 2014, Nadal has come to the US Open with a Grand Slam already in store for his home town of New York. That said, there was concern inside the hall, that Nadal would run into trouble if he was to win at least one of the opening two rounds at Flushing Meadows. The US Open is all about the first two rounds, where the players are at their freshest in terms of their fitness. Nadal is not a big fan of the US Open, however. The Spaniard has never won the US Open, and has not even won a tournament in New York since his championship at Wimbledon in 2012.
In his only Grand Slam final in New York, Nadal was edged out by Andy Murray in 2013. Nadal is aware of how hard it will be to win in Flushing Meadows, and he will be more than ready to face Djokovic in the quarters if he wins a third successive title at US Open.
Djokovic has shown little desire to go through injury time at any point of the tournament.
The Serb is due to face Cilic in the second round, who is a great favourite to win the tournament. After the tournament finishes on Thursday, the two will be in a group with Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic, in what most considered to be a battle for the final spot in the third round.
Nadal has never met a player quite like Cilic before. The world number three has won six of his first seven Grand Slam titles on clay, and has also beaten Nadal a