NEW YORK-Rafa Nadal believes this year's US Open champion will still feel like a Grand Slam victor despite the tournament losing some glamour due to the withdrawal of top players amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Spaniard said on Wednesday.
Nadal, the 34-year-old tennis pro from Spain, sent out a number of Tweets explaining his decision to withdraw, citing the "complicated" situation and "increasing" risk.
"After many thoughts, I have decided not to play this year's US Open", Nadal said on Twitter on Tuesday. I will be preparing myself for the tournament (Roland Garros), for the clay in Europe, then when the moment arrives I want to take my personal decisions depending on how the situation is, or how not, you know.
If all goes to plan, the U.S. Open will be the sport's first major event to take place since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, which forced the cancellation of Wimbledon and the postponement of the French Open.
Roger Federer, the record 20-time Grand Slam victor, has already announced he won't take part in any competition during 2020 as he recovers from a knee surgery.
Paulina Dedaj is a writer/ reporter for Fox News.
The 2020 edition of the US Open will be contested behind closed doors for the first time in the tournament's history from August 31.
"Let's hope the situations evolve in the best way possible and the tournament can be played in the best circumstances possible during this hard situation". Not since the last century - the 1999 US Open - have both Federer and Nadal been absent from the main draw at a Grand Slam.
Despite the absence of Nadal, three-time champion Djokovic will lead the men's playing field, featuring younger ATP Tour stars Dominic Thiem of Austria, last year's runner-up Medvedev and German Alexander Zverev, who will all be eying an opportunity to make their Grand Slam breakthrough. U.S Open organizers are defying the order by going ahead with the fourth and final Grand Slam of the year.
Current world number one Ashleigh Barty of Australia had already pulled out of the event over Covid-19 concerns. "I respect a lot the amount of work and positive intentions of the ATP and USTA (United States Tennis Association) to try to come back to the tour".
He claimed that "most of the players I have talked to" were "quite negative" on taking part, but now appears to have altered his approach after apologizing for the aftermath of his events in Croatia and Serbia.