Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic are competitors and they've had their battles with Rafael Nadal. But both of those champions are aware of what it means not to have Nadal at the U.S. Open, the final major tournament of the season.
Nadal's ongoing knee problems are keeping him out of the U.S. Open, making one less great tennis player to root for among the field. It hasn't been a completely disappointing year for Nadal, since he did win yet another French Open. But he lost in the second round of Wimbledon and was also a no-show for the Olympics where he would've had the chance to defend his singles title.
Here's what Federer told reporters about the situation after setting up a third-round clash with Australian rising star Bernard Tomic:
"I wrote him and he told me it wasn't looking good at all. I kind of knew. But obviously when it's official it's disappointing for tennis, there's no doubt about it. I would love to have him in the draw. In particular 12 days before the Open you figure he might still have time to fix what he has to fix to get ready.
That's what is sort of scary. There is obviously the whole debate going on if he is going come back for this year. I hope he will. He's definitely got some more weeks off now because of it. I hope in hindsight this is a very smart decision by him. But it's obviously a big blow and disappointing news for the tennis world."
Novak Djokovic had similar sentiments, saying that tennis would lose a little without Rafa because of the history he brings to the sport.