Big news in tennis dropped yesterday as 19-time Major Champion Rafael Nadal has decided to skip the U.S. Open and not defend his 2019 title. He cited concerns of traveling internationally during the COVID-19 pandemic and made the decision soon after the Madrid Open was cancelled in his native country :
Definitely a bummer that we won’t be able to see him play in Flushing, but his decision is completely understandable. Shouldn’t be that much of surprise, given the current state of the pandemic, but this announcement comes a week after he was listed to play in the Western & Southern Open, which is seen as a tune-up for the major. Unfortunate for Rafa that he won’t have an opportunity this year to tie Roger Federer’s mark of the most Major Titles at 20 or defend his 2019 title. Federer is also taking off the U.S. Open as he his still recovery from knee surgery that he had in February. Another top player who won’t be competing is #1 ranked women’s player and 2020 Australian Open champion Ash Barty
There are still some top players slated to play in the U.S. Open, most notably Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams & Naomi Osaka, but we’ll have to see if that stay’s true as we get closer to the start of the tournament. Djokovic and Serena both have young kids and the top men’s player in the world actually contracted the virus in June after hosting his own tournament. We’ll keep track of any updates, but we have to think Novak licking his chops right now without the other 2 of the ‘Big Three’ standing in his way to grab his 18th singles title.