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Nadal Won’t Defend U.S. Open Title After Wrist Injury

Tennis Champion Rafael Nadal
Defending U.S. Open champion Rafael Nadal hasn’t played a competitive tennis match since he lost to Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios in the fourth round of Wimbledon. Photographer: Scott Heavey/AELTC/Pool/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal won’t defend his title at tennis’s U.S. Open because of a wrist injury.

The second-ranked Spaniard called the decision “a very tough moment,” on his Facebook page today. He added that the U.S. Open is “a tournament I love and where I have great memories from fans.”

Nadal made the finals of the past three U.S. Open tournaments he’s played. He missed the 2012 edition because of a knee injury. Last year, Nadal capped a successful comeback from a seven-month layoff -- also because of his knees -- by beating Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the final. After winning 10 titles last season and finishing the year at No. 1 on the men’s ATP World Tour, the 14-time major champion has struggled in 2014.

Nadal started the season with a spot in the Australian Open final, which he lost to Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka as he struggled with a back injury. Nadal said that defeat affected him mentally for a few months. He won his ninth French Open title at Roland Garros in June before losing in the fourth round of Wimbledon to Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios. He injured his right wrist while training at home on the Spanish island of Mallorca for the U.S. hardcourt season.

“Not much more I can do right now, other than accept the situation and, as always in my case, work hard in order to be able to compete at the highest level once I am back,” said the left-handed Nadal, who had been practicing in recent weeks with his right arm in a cast.

The U.S. Open, which Nadal also won in 2010, starts Aug. 25 in New York.

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