Tennis without a Rafael Nadal who is firing on all cylinders isn't half as much fun, but we may have to get used to prospect at the upcoming US Open.
As exciting as seeing Nadal jostling with Novak Djokovic in an epic Grand Slam final is, those scenes are unlikely at Flushing Meadows, instead we're more likely to see a repeat of the Spaniard's shocking Wimbledon exit.
Because, regardless of how fit and naturally strong the real top athletes are, without preparation you aren't going to get too far.
The world No.2 announced last week that he wouldn't be able to appear at either the Toronto or Cincinnati Masters, and it will most likely prove to be a death kneel to his impending defence of his New York crown.
If Nadal missed warm-ups to the French Open, or if this was a few years ago, then you would say the 28-year-old still has a fighting chance, but more and more contenders are in-shape to topple the former world no.1 - the pressure will be far too great.
Lets just forget about Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray for just a bit, there are others coming through to challenge the top four.
Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic had climbed into the top ten of the rankings before Wimbledon, but the duo firmly entrenched themselves in the challenger bracket with Grand Slam breakthroughs.
Semi final appearances for both marked uncharted territory for them, and now they know that they must continue that high level at the US Open, Raonic has already looked promising at the Citi Open in Washington.
Dimitrov, meanwhile, can only go forward in New York. The Bulgarian's record is embarrassing, Maria Sharapova's boyfriend has never won a match at the US Open, he will be determined to progress.
Who can forget Nick Kyrgios either, Nadal's Wimbledon conqueror shocked the world by beating the 14-time champion on his first Centre Court appearance as a wild-card teenager.
Then, of course, you cannot forget the existing members of the big four. There are far too many obstacles for Rafael Nadal coming into the US Open to be triumphant while undercooked.
Out of his 14 Grand Slams, only three have come on the hard courts and the Spaniard doesn't have enough natural ability of the surface to cruise through without proper practice. You know he'll give it an almighty go, he always does, but don't expect any miracles on 34th street.
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