TENNIS: The stars are aligning for another dream Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal grand slam final, this time at Flushing Meadow.
Canadian Milos Raonic, who has undergone surgery on his left wrist, joins Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori in missing the US Open, which starts on Monday.
Despite their rivalry stretching back 13 years, Nadal and Federer have never met in the last slam of the year. Nadal, back on top of the world rankings for the first time in three years, is a two-time winner in New York (2010, 2013).
Federer is a five-time US champion (2004-2008) and bidding for a 20th major and third of the year after capturing the Australian Open and Wimbledon titles.
Victory in the men's final on September 10 would also make the 36-year-old the oldest US Open champion of the modern era and oldest overall since Bill Tilden in 1929.
Nadal, 31, heads to New York on the back of a quarter-final loss to Nick Kyrgios in Cincinnati and a Montreal last-16 defeat to Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov.
"New York is a completely different event," said Nadal, who has not got past the fourth round at the US Open since 2013.
"Different ball and in the history of my career in New York I played much better.
"I believe that I did the things well enough during the whole year to be ready to compete at the highest level in New York."
World No.11 Raonic has been struggling with his wrist problem for a number of weeks and also pulled out of the Cincinnati Masters earlier this month.
Unlike Djokovic, Wawrinka and Nishikori, he hopes to be back in action before the end of the year.
"As you know, I've been dealing with a painful condition in my left wrist, which has been bothering me for many weeks now and recently forced me to withdraw from the Cincinnati Masters," Raonic posted on his Instagram page.
"I have tried everything in my power to rehabilitate this injury in time for the US Open in order to play an event that is so truly special to me. However, the pain is too great and, in consultation with my doctors, I am left with no option but to withdraw from the event.
"Today, I underwent a procedure to remove portions of the bone that have been causing the discomfort and preventing me from being able to play the way I normally can.
"I have too much respect for the US Open and my fellow competitors to take a spot in the draw when I know I cannot give full effort due to this injury."
"I am crushed to miss this event and a chance to play in front of the fantastic New York crowd, but I truly had no other options."
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