• Rafael Nadal is currently World No. 3 in the ATP rankings
  • World No. 2 Zverev is currently recovering from ankle surgery
  • Zverev last played at Roland Garros 2022

Rafael Nadal is set to enter the US Open seeded second after World No. 2 Alexander Zverev withdrew from the tournament.

Zverev, who has been out of action since June, officially pulled out of the US Open on Monday, the organizers confirmed in a press release. The 25-year-old has reached a Grand Slam final just once, which coincidently happened at the Flushing Meadows two years ago in New York.

The German tennis player has not competed since suffering an ankle injury during the Roland Garros semi-finals against World No. 3 Nadal in June. Zverev underwent surgery shortly thereafter. Nadal, who received a walkover to the final, went on to clinch his 22nd Grand Slam title by crushing Norway's Casper Rudd.

Ahead of the second tie-break, Zverev rolled his right ankle while chasing a ball behind the baseline and was forced to be taken off the court in a wheelchair. He later confirmed in an Instagram post that he had three torn lateral ligaments in the affected ankle.

"After further examination in Germany, we received confirmation that all three of the lateral ligaments in my right ankle were torn. To return to competition as quickly as possible, to ensure all the ligaments heal properly, and to reclaim full stability in my ankle, surgery was the best choice. My rehab starts now and I'll do everything to come back stronger than ever!" the player wrote.

Zverev had played 27 consecutive Grand Slam main draws since his 2015 debut. The injury also forced him out of Wimbledon earlier this year.

Alexander Zverev had to retire against Rafael Nadal after rolling his ankle
Alexander Zverev had to retire against Rafael Nadal after rolling his ankle AFP / Christophe ARCHAMBAULT

The German returned to training recently after a few weeks in rehabilitation, where he focused on strength and conditioning as his right ankle healed. However, he has been training with heavy strapping on his right foot. Zverev's return date is yet to be known.

Meanwhile, Nadal has a fine chance to reclaim the No. 1 spot going into the US Open. Since the Spaniard did not compete last year in New York, he is not defending any points. If the 2021 champion Medvedev drops the 2,000 points he is defending, Nadal will be No. 1 with 5,630 points, according to ATP.

He will have a 590-point lead over Zverev, who does not have a chance to claim No. 1 because he is not competing at the US Open. Defending champion Medvedev, who is World No. 1 since June 13, will be 745 points behind.