Rafael Nadal will not play at US Open, cites coronavirus concerns

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Defending champion Rafael Nadal will skip the US Open due to the coronavirus pandemic, putting on hold his attempt to equal Roger Federer’s men’s tennis record for Grand Slam titles.Nadal explained his decision in a series of tweets sent Tuesday in Spanish and English.

“The situation is very complicated in the world, the cases of COVID-19 are on the increase, it seems that we still do not have control of it”, wrote Nadal.

The 34-year-old Spanish player called for not playing the tournament scheduled to start on August 31 in New York “a decision I never wanted to make”, but added that he “would rather not travel”.

Currently No. 1 ranked woman Ash Barty had previously announced that she would miss the US Open. USTA entry list announcements on Tuesday noted that 2019 Women’s Champion Bianca Andreescu is on the pitch – at least for now; players can withdraw until the start of the game – but made no mention of Nadal.

Professional tennis tours have been on hiatus since March due to the COVID-19 outbreak, with play resuming for women on Monday in Palermo, Italy. The main tour’s first male event is scheduled for later this month.

Nadal’s announcement came shortly after the Madrid Open, scheduled for September, was canceled due to the pandemic.

In last year’s thriller of a men’s final at Flushing Meadows, Nadal edged Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 in 4 hours and 50 minutes. This gave Nadal four US Open titles and a total of 19 in all Grand Slam tournaments, only one in Federer’s career.

Federer will also be out of the US Open, but due to two right knee surgeries this year.

The last Grand Slam tournament played without Federer and Nadal was the 1999 US Open – four years before Nadal made his debut at one of the sport’s four most prestigious events.

The USTA has given repeated indications of its intention to move forward with the US Open, despite spikes in cases around the United States, saying in a press release last week: “The State of New York continues to be one of the safest places in the country. it concerns the COVID-19 virus. ”

This is currently true – although the region was a major US hotspot at the start of the pandemic, so much so that a building at the site of the US Open was used as a temporary hospital.

New York hospitals welcomed more than 18,000 patients with COVID-19 in mid-April, when infections increased and more than 750 patients with the disease died in hospitals and homes every day. of retirement. Those numbers plunged in May, and rates of hospitalizations and new positive COVID-19 cases have been relatively stable since June.

There are always concerns about travel, as Nadal noted.

The USTA is planning a kind of double schedule at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The Western and Southern Open, a hard-court tournament normally played in Cincinnati, has been moved to the site of the US Open this year due to the pandemic and is scheduled to be played August 20-28.

This is supposed to be followed by the US Open itself. And then, two weeks after the US Open closes on September 13, the French Open is set to start in Paris, having been postponed from its usual start in May.



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