According to former British No.1 Greg Rusedski, world No.3 Rafa Nadal cannot win the US Open carrying a serious abdominal injury.
"At this stage of a Grand Slam, if you are not at the top of your game and firing on all cylinders, the other stars will jump all over your serve and hurt you even more," he said.
The athletic Gael Monfils will be a challenge for the No.3 seed in the fourth round. And Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who defeated him at the Australian Open two years ago when Nadal was fully fit, can do the same again if he gets to the last eight, The Mirror quoted Rusedski, as saying.
"The margins are so small in top-class tennis and so much of his game is based on his physical strength and his never say-die attitude. At the French Open he was not the same player when he was suffering from tendinitis in his knees and had to take two months out.
"I wasn't concerned about the Spaniard's lack of match fitness before Flushing Meadows even though he had only played two tournaments since Roland Garros. He was building that up nicely. But a tear in his stomach muscle is a major problem and he will pull out of the tournament if his medical people think he will do permanent damage to his body.
"I can't see him getting through to his scheduled semi-final meeting with Andy Murray, who looks in great form though he has not really been pushed," Rusedski said.