Tue, 22 Sep 2020

Rafael Nadal has pulled out of the 2020 US Open citing concerns over the coronavirus and the difficulties of remaining competitive on the circuit's calendar which has been reconfigured due to the pandemic.

Last week Ashleigh Barty, the women's world number one withdrew from the tournament saying she was worried about travelling during the coronavirus pandemic.

"After many thoughts I have decided not to play this year's US Open," Nadal said on Twitter.

The 34-year-old Spanish star also described the revised schedules as barbaric.

Following the US Open on the hard courts at Flushing Meadows in New York between 31 August and 13 September, the French Open will take place on clay courts at Roland Garros in Paris.

Nadal, who won last year's men's singles title in New York, could have equalled Roger Federer's haul of 20 Grand Slam trophies with another triumph on Arthur Ashe Stadium on 13 September.

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His absence will make the world number one Novak Djokovic the hot favourite for an 18th Grand Slam title.

However, the 33-year-old Serb will face stern competition from world number three Dominic Thiem, the man he beat to take a record-extending eighth Australian Open title in January.

The rising young guns such as Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas could also shoot down Djokovic's drive for glory.

The women's entry list includes 13 Grand Slam champions and nine of the world's top 10 players.

World number two Simona Halep will lead the women's draw which contains the former world number one Serena Williams. The 38-year-old American is chasing a seventh US Open crown and her 24th Grand Slam title.

Orginally published on RFI

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