A week ago, Rafael Nadal announced that he would not participate in this year’s edition of the US Open. This decision was not a big surprise, given that the Spaniard had trained only on clay and had expressed many doubts about the safety issue in the middle of a pandemic.
Dominic Thiem's manager Herwig Straka believes that the Majorcan has earned the luxury of missing a major tournament like the US Open, a privilege many of his peers cannot afford. In a lengthy interview with the Austrian news agency APA, Straka said that most players need points and money right now.
"A Rafael Nadal is a player who has already won a lot," said Herwig Straka. "For the vast majority of players, it is already the case that playing a tournament is still not just their job, they live for it. That is the main motivation, even if there are extreme restrictions like now in New York. Winning a Grand Slam or a 1000 is already at the top of the list. Of course, points and financial considerations also play a role."
While Straka denied that ranking points were a motivating factor for Dominic Thiem, he does believe it may have helped Rafael Nadal make his decision.
"I do not think so," Straka replied when asked whether Dominic Thiem had decided to enter the US Open in order to gain ranking points. "That may be a calculation with Rafa, but otherwise, it's about a Grand Slam victory. I don't entirely agree that it's easier now because maybe one or two aren't there. It's like in a ski race: if someone is eliminated in the first round, the victory is no less worthwhile, you are still an Olympic or world champion."