nadal's withdrawal raises the importance of this year's US Open draw, because World #1 Roger Federer and World #2 Novak Djokovic are almost certainly not going to be in the same half of the draw, so the question is in whose half will Olympic gold medalist (and potential #3 seed) Andy Murray fall? Murray routed Federer in the best-of-five-sets Gold medal match on grass, and the Scotsman best surface is hard court, so he would have a decent chance of breaking through against the 17-time major champion in a high-stakes semifinal. Murray lost his best Grand Slam match of his career against Djokovic in the 2012 Australian Open semifinals.
It's unfortunate that Nadal will not be able to play this year's Open, because it will almost certainly lead him to fall out of the Top 3 rankings. But I'm sure there will be several other interesting stories to cover, especially whether Federer can go for his mind-boggling 18th major, or will someone else win their first?