Defending US Open champion Rafael Nadal announced that he will not be taking part in this year’s competition over fears of the coronavirus.
He took to Twitter to make the announcement.
After many thoughts I have decided not to play this year’s US Open. The situation is very complicated worldwide, the COVID-19 cases are increasing, it looks like we still don’t have control of it.— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) August 4, 2020
We know that the reduced tennis calendar is barbaric this year after 4 months stopped with no play, I understand and thank for the efforts they are putting in to make it happen. We have just seen the announcement of Madrid not being played this year.— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) August 4, 2020
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
This is a decision I never wanted to take but I have decided to follow my heart this time and for the time being I rather not travel. pic.twitter.com/8VA0aSACVy— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) August 4, 2020
The five-time US Open winner has 19 Grand Slam wins to his name and would have been chasing arch-rival Roger Federer’s record of 20 majors.
Earlier, world-number-one women’s singles player Ashleigh Barty had also pulled out of the tournament due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 2020 edition of the US Open will be contested behind closed doors for the first time in the tournament’s history from August 31.
The players arriving in the United States will not be required to go into quarantine but will be required to get tested for the virus before their departure for New York.
The players who test positive for the coronavirus will be asked to withdraw from the competition.