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Nadal will not defend US Open amid Covid-19 concerns

Roger Federer has not played since his win over Rafael Nadal during The Match in Africa in Cape Town last February.

Reigning champion, Rafael Nadal, slammed the “barbaric” tennis schedule as he decided not to defend his US Open title due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Nadal’s involvement at Flushing Meadows was already in doubt over his fears surrounding his safety and he has now confirmed he will not take part in New York.

He took to Twitter on Tuesday evening to make the bombshell announcement.

Spaniard Nadal, 34, wrote: “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.

“We know that the reduced tennis calendar is barbaric this year after four 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.

“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.

“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.”

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.

The US Open is scheduled to take place between August 31 and September 13.

But Nadal follows the likes of world No1 Ash Barty and Nick Kyrgios in skipping the first Grand Slam back after the tennis season was suspended due to the global pandemic.

read also:Inside Nadal’s new £4.5m luxury yacht with waterfall-fed spa pool

That is despite the fact glory at the US Open would have tied him level with Roger Federer on a record 20 singles majors.

World’s  No2 is a four-time champion in the Big Apple, winning the title in 2010, 2013, 2017 and 2019 – beating Daniil Medvedev in last year’s final.

However, he missed the chance to defend his crown in 2014 due to injury.

Nadal is the first male champion to choose not to defend the singles title at Flushing Meadows since American Pete Sampras, who retired the year after winning in 2002.

In June, Nadal expressed his concerns about flying to the US unless it is safe to do so.

And it is clear he still feels his safety cannot be guaranteed if he travels because the virus continues to claim hundreds of lives in the country every day.

Hours earlier, the ATP and WTA confirmed the Madrid Open had been scrapped due to a localised spike in Covid-19 cases.

Nadal had planned to play in Masters 1000 event in the Spanish capital, which starts the day after the US Open final.

That would have made ideal preparation for the rearranged French Open, which he is looking to win for a record-extending 13th time.

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