The 19-time Grand Slam Champion, Rafael Nadal has announced the long-awaited decision of not participating in this year’s US Open hardcourt slam. Opting out of the tournament he has won four times will mean losing 2000 points but the clay maestro is gearing up for Rome and Roland Garros, his favorite tournaments.
The cancellation of Mardi Open provided Nadal some sort of a chance to play on his least favorite surface in United States but the Spaniard was just not ready and now has to wait until September to catch up to Rodger Federer’s tally of 20 majors. Nadal, 34 said “the circumstances forced me to take the decision”. He has won New York event in 2010, 2013, 2017 and 2019 but has now joined his Swiss rival Federer to sit out and prepare for the next season after a short spell of clay. The other players who skipped the event include Australian Nick Kyrgios and women’s World #1 Ash Barty.
“Everybody knows how much do I love playing in New York. The energy that court brings to me it is just difficult to describe, but the circumstance today, speaking with my family and with my team, with the people that I love around me, forced me to take that decision and my personal feeling at the same time,” Nadal told reporters in a video conference from Spain.
“I am the defending champion there but my personal feeing and my heart are telling me not to have those long trips without knowing what could or not happen, so my decision is to stay here, stay at home in Mallorca where the situation it looks good, looks under control here. And wait for future opportunities.”
He continued: “The tournament is still big, it’s a Grand Slam. I am not that kind of a person. I am not that arrogant to say that the tournament is not big enough because I’m not playing. Of course, it will be a tournament under special circumstances but still a Grand Slam, and the winner will feel it, like a Grand Slam winner.”
US Open organizers have built a bio-secure bubble in New York to host the tourney with empty stands. The Spaniard expects that there could more withdrawals but also hopes that the situation will get better with the time. The 12-time French Open winner said he will not judge if its right or wrong to organize the competition in New York.
“”I know my words can have repercussions. It’s difficult to say if it’s the right or not right decision,” said Nadal. “I personally respect the positive intention and the amount of work USTA and ATP are doing to bring back our Tour.
“I respect and understand that there are lot of players that are in different situations than me and need to play. They need to make some money because they are facing financial problems.”
After the end of year last Grand slam (technically, second last this time), the World No #2 is currently left with one ATP tour on the cards, Rome Open.
“I don’t know my schedule, honestly” he said. “I don’t know what’s going on after the cancellation of the tournament in Madrid.
“But I will be ready, I will be preparing myself for the tournaments, for the clay in Europe. Then, when the moment arrives, I got to take my personal decision depending on the situation,” Nadal concluded.