“After much thought, I’ve decided not to play at this year’s US Open. The situation is very complicated all over the world, cases of COVID-19 are on the increase, it seems that we still do not have control of it, ”Nadal wrote on Instagram.
“It’s a decision I never wanted to make but I decided to follow my heart this time around and for now I’d rather not travel.
The 2020 international tennis calendar had previously shrunk to a handful of events when the Madrid Open became the latest and least surprising victim of the pandemic. In a joint statement, ATP and WTA said the seemingly inevitable cancellation of the first of the last two Clay Masters events ahead of the rescheduled French Open in September was “a decision that was made in accordance with the local authorities due to health and safety concerns. “.The Rome Italian Open, the other major warm-up event ahead of Roland Garros, is still set to start on September 20, but there is no guarantee in the schedule, which has been altered several times over the years. last five months. The first tournament since its suspension in early March began in Sicily this week, with a weakened field at the Palermo Ladies Open.
The Madrid Open, where both singles titles were won last year by Novak Djokovic and Kiki Bertens, is led by Feliciano López and Ion Tiriac and had already moved from May to September 14. Despite optimistic claims from tournament organizers in recent days, this has always been in the balance, given the recent coronavirus outbreaks in northern Spain.
Both towers are monitoring daily developments in the spread and peak of the virus, and have said that an update to each of their schedules after the next US Open at the end of August “will be released in due course. “.
The mood is pessimistic, players are unsure of when and where to book their next flights, and signs are not encouraging that there is much more to do this season.
The United States Tennis Association confirmed last week that the US Open will take place on August 31, despite the virus gripping many states.
Andy Murray, who won the first of his three Grand Slam titles at Flushing Meadows eight years ago, said at the weekend he was eager to return to New York but remained “worried”.
ATP President Andrea Gaudenzi said on Tuesday: “The circumstances around Covid-19 are constantly changing and we continue to follow the advice of local authorities in our decision making.”
Gaudenzi’s WTA counterpart Steve Simon said: “We are disappointed that the Madrid Open is not being held this year, but we are proud of the dedication of Feliciano and the entire tournament team. We remain vigilant to ensure that health and safety remain our top priority for all. “