Nadal decides against US Open defence

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The 34-year-old Spaniard announced his decision via his social media channels, and one he said he never wanted to take.

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

"The situation is very complicated worldwide, the COVID-19 cases are increasing, it looks like we still don’t have control of it."

The pandemic has flared again in Spain – one of the worst affected European countries during the early days of the crisis – leading to the cancellation of the Madrid Open on Wednesday (AEST), which Nadal mentioned. 

"We know that the reduced tennis calendar is barbaric this year after 4 months stopped with no play, I understand and thank for the efforts they are putting in to make it happen. We have just seen the announcement of Madrid not being played this year," he continued.

"All my respects to the USTA, the US Open organisers and the ATP for trying to put the event together for the players and the fans around the world through TV.

"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."

Australia's Nick Kyrgios pulled out of the US Open late last week citing similar concerns to Nadal, while also hinting he hoped others would follow his lead.

"Let's take a breath here and remember what's important, which is health and safety as a community. We can re-build our sport and the economy but we can never recover lives lost," he said.