Nadal won’t play in US Open over virus concerns

Tennis

Defending champion Rafael Nadal will skip the US Open because of the coronavirus pandemic, putting on hold his bid to equal Roger Federer‘s men’s tennis record for Grand Slam titles.

Nadal explained his decision in a series of tweets sent in Spanish and English on Tuesday.

“The situation is very complicated worldwide, the COVID-19 cases are increasing, it looks like we still don’t have control of it,” Nadal wrote.

The 33-year-old from Spain called sitting out the tournament scheduled to begin Aug. 31 in New York “a decision I never wanted to take,” but added that he would “rather not travel.”

The current No. 1-ranked woman, Ash Barty, already had announced she would be missing the US Open.

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

Nadal’s announcement came shortly after the Madrid Open, scheduled for September, was canceled because of 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, 50 minutes. That gave Nadal four titles at the US Open and a total of 19 across all the Grand Slam tournaments, just one away from Federer’s career mark.

Federer will be absent from the US Open, too, but because of two operations on his right knee this year.

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