Rafa Nadal makes his return to action against Jack Sock in the Last 32 of the 2021 Citi Open in…
Rafa Nadal makes his return to action against Jack Sock in the Last 32 of the 2021 Citi Open in Washington on Wednesday.
Nadal is making his first competitive appearance since his Semi-Final defeat to rival Novak Djokovic in the French Open at Roland Garros in June.
The 35-year-old withdrew from both Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics, citing scheduling reasons as he sought to recover from a “demanding” clay court season.
Nadal now returns to action on hard court as the number one seed at the ATP Washington – an effective warm-up event for the US Open later this month.
Speaking in his pre-tournament press conference, Nadal said: “Playing in Washington allows me to be on the tour one week before than what I do usually for this part of the season.
“But missing Wimbledon, I think that’s the right thing to do. The decision I think is the right one.
“I don’t know how long it will take to recover everything, but the only thing I can say is I’m here just to try my best in every single moment. I hope the past couple of days of practices keep helping me to be competitive enough for the first round.”
Nadal is now in a three-way tie on 20 Grand Slam titles alongside Roger Federer and Djokovic, with the trio set to battle it out at Flushing Meadows for the outright lead.
Nadal begins his campaign at the Citi Open against 28-year-old Sock – a winner of four career ATP singles titles.
Sock, who is a three-time Grand Slam doubles champion, has a career-high singles ranking of world number eight, though is now ranked at a lowly 192.
The American right-hander was handed a walkover against Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka in the opening round, losing the first set 7-6 before leading 4-0 in the second as Nishioka retired through injury.
Nadal has won all five of his previous meetings with Sock, the first of which in the Last 16 at Roland Garros six years ago.
Their latest encounter gets under way from around 12am BST, with either Tennys Sandgren or 14th seed Lloyd Harris awaiting in the Round of 16 later in the week.
Nadal v Sock is available to watch via a live stream on desktop, mobile or tablet from approximately 12am BST.
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