WASHINGTON (Dispatches) - Defending champion Rafael Nadal has pulled out of the U.S. Open citing concerns over coronavirus.
The four-time winner at Flushing Meadows does not want to travel to the United States for the event, which begins on Aug 31, while Covid-19 cases are on the rise.
A spike in coronavirus in Nadal’s Spain homeland has already led to the cancellation of next month’s Madrid Open.
"After many thoughts I have ¬decided not to play this year’s U.S. Open,” he wrote on Instagram. "The situation is very complicated worldwide, the Covid-19 cases are increasing, it looks like we still don’t have control of it.
"I have decided to follow my heart this time and for the time ¬being I rather not travel.”
Nadal said the revamped schedule was "barbaric” in terms of compressing events into a short time, but he appreciated tournament ¬organizers across the world were doing their best.
Madrid’s clay-court event was originally due to be played in May, but was moved to September after the first wave of Covid-19 hit ¬Europe. However, a rise in cases in Spain has meant the tournament has been cancelled until next year.