Nineteen-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal announced that he won’t take part in the 2020 US Open due to his concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rafael Nadal US Open
Rafael Nadal withdrew from the 2020 US Open over concerns about traveling to the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Image: Getty)

The 12-time French Open champion made his announcement on Twitter on Tuesday, saying that skipping the US Open is a decision he didn’t want to make.

Nadal Joins Growing List of US Open Withdrawals

Nadal won the 2019 US Open, beating Daniil Medvedev in a five-set thriller to claim his fourth title at Flushing Meadows.

“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. “All my respects to the USTA, the US Open organizers, and the ATP for trying to put the event together for the players and the fans around the world through TV.”

The USTA plans to begin the US Open on Aug. 31 in New York. Fans won’t attend the tournament, though organizers have remained open to the possibility of inviting certain special guests. While coronavirus cases have spiked in many parts of the United States, the relatively low prevalence of the virus in New York – once the country’s hot spot for the pandemic – has organizers feeling confident they can successfully hold the event.

“New York State continues to be one of the safest places in the country as it relates to the COVID-19 virus,” the USTA said in a press release issued last week.

Barty, Kyrgios Among Those Skipping Tournament

Many players other than Nadal also remain uncomfortable with the idea of traveling to the United States. Last week, women’s world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty withdrew from the US Open, citing the same issues as Nadal.

“My team and I have decided that we won’t be travelling to the Western and Southern Open and the US Open this year,” Barty said in a statement. “I love both events, so it was a difficult decision, but there are still significant risks involved due to COVID-19 and I don’t feel comfortable putting my team and I in that position.”

Fellow Australian Nick Kyrgios also backed out of the US Open, and didn’t mince words when it came to his reasoning.

“Tennis players, you have to act in the interests of each other and work together. You can’t be dancing on tables, money-grabbing your way around Europe or trying to make a quick buck hosting the next exhibition,” Kyrgios said in a video posted to social media on Sunday. “To those players that have been observing the rules and acting selflessly, I say good luck to you. Play at your own risk – and I have no problem with that.”

The 2020 US Open will be the first since 1999 to feature neither Nadal nor Roger Federer in the field. Federer will miss the tournament as he continues to recover after undergoing knee surgery earlier this year.

FanDuel Sportsbook listed Nadal as a +300 second choice to win the US Open before he dropped out of the tournament, behind only favorite Novak Djokovic (+145).

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