Rafael Nadal unlikely to defend US Open title: Details here
19-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal is highly unlikely to defend his US Open title when the rescheduled tournament begins on August 31. Nadal confirmed that he will play in the Madrid Masters, which starts on September 13, the day after the final in New York. The Spaniard had earlier shared his apprehensions regarding the US Open. Here's more.
World number 56 Feliciano Lopez tweeted that Rafa has confirmed his participation in the Madrid Masters. "I talked to my friend @RafaelNadal and he has confirmed his participation in Madrid next September!", Lopez tweeted. "We wait for you as always with open arms in the Magic Box!" Nadal replied to his Spanish compatriot: "See you in Madrid in September. Meanwhile everything goes well!"
The Madrid and Rome Masters, which starts on September 20, are the key warm-up clay tournaments before the French Open at Roland Garros. The French Open was rearranged due to the coronavirus pandemic and is set to start from September 27 onwards. Nadal, who has won 12 French Open honors, has been successful in both Madrid (5 titles) and Rome (9 titles).
Nadal and Novak Djokovic have expressed reservations about playing in New York during the coronavirus pandemic. Their doubts were strengthened when the city's marathon was canceled last month. Meanwhile, there is an uncertainty about quarantining for players returning to Europe. This is a significant disincentive to travel to New York for many on the ATP Tour, which has been suspended since March.
Should four-time US Open champion Nadal decide to defend his men's singles title and reach the latter stages of the tournament, it leaves him with little time to return back to Spain and feature in the Madrid Masters. Moreover, the sudden change in the surface from hard to clay is something that Nadal will be considering.
Nadal's potential absence will be a huge blow to the organizers of the US Open, who have gone to great lengths in ensuring that the event goes ahead. As far the other top stars are concerned, Serena Williams has confirmed she intends to play. Novak Djokovic is unsure and Roger Federer will miss the rest of 2020 season.