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Defending champion Nadal to skip US Open over coronavirus concerns

Defending champion Rafael Nadal will skip the U.S. Open because of the coronavirus pandemic, putting on hold his bid to equal Roger Federer’s men’s record for Grand Slam titles.

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 Aug. 31 in New York “a decision I never wanted to take,” but added that he would “rather not travel.”

The current No. 1-ranked woman, Ash Barty, already had announced she would be missing the U.S. Open.

The professional tennis tours have been on hiatus since March because of the COVID-19 outbreak, with play resuming for women on Monday in Palermo, Italy. The first men’s event on the main tour is scheduled to be held later this month.