This year’s edition of the US Open will feature neither of Roger Federer nor Rafael Nadal in the men’s draw for the first time since the 1999 US Open.
First time in 21 years!
Defending champion Rafael Nadal will skip the US Open because of the coronavirus pandemic. It puts a hold on his bid to equal Roger Federer’s men’s record for grand slam titles.
Roger Federer will be absent from the US Open, too, but because of two surgeries on his right knee this year.
The last grand slam tournament contested without either Federer or Nadal was the 1999 US Open — four years before Nadal made his debut at one of the sport’s four most prestigious events.
Nadal said he would “rather not travel” due to the threat of coronavirus. It is the first time since 1999 a grand slam won’t feature either Nadal or Roger Federer
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 on August 31 in New York “a decision I never wanted to take”, but added that he would “rather not travel”.
US Open tournament director on Nadal’s withdrawal
“Rafa is one of the greatest champions in our sport and we support his decision,” US Open tournament director Stacey Allaster said.
“I know our fans will be disappointed to not have Rafa playing this year’s US Open. However, for the fans and the sport, we look forward to being inspired by him when he decides he’s ready to play.” Allaster said.
The USTA has given repeated indications it intends to go forward with the US 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.”
However, that has not been the case as New York recorded more than 18,000 cases with 750 deaths per day. The overwhelming rise in the infections resulted in part of the US Open venue was used as a temporary hospital to house the patients.
The USTA is planning to host multiple tournaments at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Centre.
The Western & Southern Open, a hard-court tournament normally played in Cincinnati, was moved to the US Open site this year because of the pandemic and is scheduled to be played from August 20-28.