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 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 34-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 AP reports.
"Rafa is one of the greatest champions in our sport and we support his decision," US Open tournament director Stacey Allaster said. The current No. 1-ranked woman, Ash Barty, already had announced she would be missing the US Open. The US Tennis Association's entry list announcements Tuesday noted that 2019 women's champion Bianca Andreescu is in the field—at least for now; players can withdraw until the start of play—but made no mention of Nadal. Federer will be absent from the US Open, too, but because of two operations on his right knee this year. The last Grand Slam tournament contested without either Federer or Nadal was the 1999 US Open.
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