The USTA has given repeated indications it intends to go forward with the U.S. Open, despite the spikes in cases around the United States, saying in a news release last week: "New York State continues to be one of the safest places in the country as it relates to the COVID-19 virus".
The women's WTA Tour resumed this week with the Palermo Open, with one unidentified player pulling out on the eve of the tournament after testing positive for coronavirus, while the men's ATP Tour will start for the first time since March on August 22.
Others were overwhelmed to how many top ranked players were skipping the US Open.
Nadal says the health situation is very complicated around the world with cases increasing and flare-ups. "This is a decision I never wanted to take but I have chose to follow my heart this time and for the time being I rather not travel".
Wimbledon officials announced in spring they were canceling the 2020 edition because of the pandemic, which reduced the number of Grand Slams this season to three at a time when Federer, Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and Nadal are battling age and younger rivals to extend their respective career tallies of major titles.
But tennis writer José Morgado has pointed out it has been an astonishingly long time since a Grand Slam hasn't had either Federer or Nadal compete.
Had the 34-year-old Spaniard managed to retain the title he won in a five-set thriller against Daniil Medvedev last year, he would have joined Roger Federer at the top of the list with 20 titles.
A number of players are also set to take part in the August 20-28 Western & Southern Open in NY, which serves as a warm-up event for the U.S. Open.
It's likely he took into account that the French Open - an event he has won a record 12 times - was rescheduled to take place from september 27-Oct.
World number one Novak Djokovic, a three-time champion in NY, headlines the men's list along with last year's runner-up Daniil Medvedev and other top 10 players including Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev.
Organizers confirmed that world number one and three-time victor Novak Djkovic would be among those playing, alongside last year's finalist Medvedev and fellow top 10 stars including Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev.