Coronavirus: Nadal Withdraws From 2020 US Open

September 8, 2019 - 2019 US Open Men's Singles Champion Rafael Nadal. (Photo by Darren Carroll/USTA)

Defending champion Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the US Open holding later this month over coronavirus pandemic fears.

Spanish world number two Nadal, 34, said in a statement that the pandemic is “not under control” and he will, therefore, not enter the tournament, which takes place in New York from 31 August.

“The health situation is very complicated around the world with cases increasing and flare-ups,” said Nadal.

“This is a decision I never wanted to take but I have decided to follow my heart this time and for the time being I rather not travel.”

Men’s world number one Serbia’s Novak Djokovic leads the men’s entry list, while American great Serena Williams has confirmed her participation.

Swiss great Roger Federer will also be absent from the US Open, with the 38-year-old recovering from knee surgery.

Australian Ashleigh Barty, the women’s world number one, has withdrawn from the tournament, leaving Romania’s world number two Simona Halep as the highest-ranked player in the entry list.

Defending women’s champion Canada’s Bianca Andreescu has also entered.

The entry list is not a guarantee that those on it will play the Grand Slam tournament, with many players likely to make a final decision over the next few weeks.

Britain’s three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray does plan to play at Flushing Meadows, although the world number 129 will need a wildcard if he is not promoted from the alternate list.

“We know that the reduced tennis calendar is barbaric this year after four months stopped with no play,” added Nadal, who will miss a Grand Slam for the first time since Wimbledon in 2016.