New York – Defending champion Rafael Nadal said on Tuesday he will not play the US Open, citing concerns over the coronavirus and slamming tennis’s “barbaric” schedule.
“After many thoughts I have decided not to play this year’s US Open,” Nadal said on Twitter.
“The situation is very complicated worldwide, the COVID-19 cases are increasing, it looks like we still don’t have control of it.
“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.”
Nadal, 34, also took aim at the international tennis schedule, which had been revised following disruptions sparked by Covid-19 shutdowns.
The US Open kin New York, scheduled for 31 August through 13 September, will be followed a fortnight later by the French Open at Roland Garros.
“We know that the reduced tennis calendar is barbaric this year after 4 months stopped with no play…” said Nadal.
Nadal, who has won 19 Grand Slam victories, could have equalled Federer’s tally of 20 Slam wins in New York.