NEW YORK - Reigning champion Rafael Nadal has pulled out of the US Open because of an injury for the second time in three years, leaving Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer as the men to beat at the year's last grand slam tournament.
Nadal on Monday announced his withdrawal, blamed on a bad right wrist, one week before play begins at Flushing Meadows.
"I am sure you understand that it is a very tough moment for me since it is a tournament I love and where I have great memories from fans, the night matches, so many things," a posting on Nadal's Facebook page read.
"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."
The second-ranked Nadal plays left-handed, but he uses a two-handed backhand.
The 14-time major champ was hurt on July 29 while practicing in Mallorca ahead of the North American hard-court circuit.
The next day, Nadal announced he needed to wear a cast on his wrist and would be sitting out tournaments in Toronto and Cincinnati.
The 28-year-old also said at that time he expected to return for the US Open.
Instead, he's the fourth man in the Open era, to decline to try to defend his US Open title.
The others were Australia's Ken Rosewall in 1971, Pete Sampras in 2003 and Juan Martin del Potro in 2010.