Rafa Nadal
Rafa Nadal has been forced to withdraw from the US Open injuredGetty

Defending champion Rafael Nadal has been forced to withdraw from the US Open due to a wrist injury.

The two-time winner at Flushing Meadows announced on his Facebook page that he would miss the final major of the tennis season to work hard and get back to full fitness.

The left hander has been forced to pull out due to an injured right wrist and means there will be a newly crowned champion at the tournament, which starts on 25 August.

Announcing his decision, the 28-year-old wrote: "I am very sorry to announce I won't be able to play at this year's US Open a tournament on which I've played three consecutive finals in my last participations.

"I am sure you understand that it is a very tough moment for me since it is a tournament I love and where I have great memories from fans, the night matches, so many things.

"Not much more I can do right now, other than accept the situation and, as always in my case, work hard in order to be able to compete at the highest level once I am back."

Reigning champion Nadal, who beat Novak Djokovic in four sets, becomes the second former winner to pull out of the tournament after Martin Del Potro last week announced he would not be able to compete in New York due to an injury to his left wrist.

The 14-time major winner's absence means world number nine Andy Murray will now become the number eight seed.

Nadal's vacancy of the title means it will be only the fourth time since 1968 that the reigning US Open men's champion did not defend their crown the following year. The others were Ken Rosewall in 1971, Pete Sampras in 2003 and Juan Martin del Potro in 2010.