Tennis is still struggling to get back on track during the coronavirus pandemic, and yet another star won’t compete in the next major tournament. Rafael Nadal announced Tuesday that he’s skipping the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, New York.
Nadal’s decision guarantees that there won’t be a repeat U.S. Open champion in 2020. The world’s No.2 ranked player won the grand slam for the fourth time in his career last year.
“After many thoughts I have decided not to play this year’s US Open,” Nadal said in a social media post. “The situation is very complicated worldwide, the COVID-19 cases are increasing, it looks like we still don’t have control of it.”
All my respects to the USTA, the US Open organisers and the ATP for trying to put the event together for the players and the fans around the world through TV.
— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) August 4, 2020
The news comes just a few hours after the Mutua Madrid Open was canceled. The event had been set to start on Sept. 13.
Every tournament since March has been canceled because of coronavirus concerns. The sport is set to resume with the Western & Southern Open in New York on Aug. 22, a week before the U.S. Open begins on Aug. 31.
Changes in the schedule will force a pair of major tournaments to start within the span of a month. The French Open was moved from May to Sept. 27.
Nadal has won the French Open in each of the last three years and 12 of the last 15 years.
There have concerns that tennis’ top stars might skip the U.S. Open in order to compete in the French Open. World No.1 Ashleigh Barty and several other top women’s tennis players have decided to skip the upcoming grand slam.