Nadal withdraws from US Open over virus fears

➤ De­fend­ing cham­pion re­fuses to travel af­ter ‘fol­low­ing heart’ ➤ Madrid event can­celled as spike leads to tighter mea­sures

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Then And Now - By Carl Markham

De­fend­ing cham­pion Rafael Nadal has pulled out of the US Open cit­ing con­cerns over coro­n­avirus.

The four-time win­ner at Flush­ing Mead­ows does not want to travel to the United States for the event, which be­gins on Aug 31, while Covid-19 cases are on the rise.

A spike in coro­n­avirus in Nadal’s Spain home­land has al­ready led to the can­cel­la­tion of next month’s Madrid Open.

“Af­ter many thoughts, I have de­cided not to play this year’s US Open,” he wrote on In­sta­gram. “The sit­u­a­tion is very com­pli­cated world­wide, the Covid-19 cases are in­creas­ing, it looks like we still don’t have con­trol of it.

“I have de­cided to fol­low my heart this time and for the time be­ing I rather not travel.”

Nadal said the re­vamped sched­ule was “bar­baric” in terms of com­press­ing events into a short time, but he ap­pre­ci­ated tour­na­ment or­gan­is­ers across the world were do­ing their best.

Madrid’s clay-court event was orig­i­nally due to be played in May, but was moved to Septem­ber af­ter the first wave of Covid-19 hit Europe. How­ever, a rise in cases in

Spain has meant the tour­na­ment has been put back to next year. It was due to be played as the premier warm-up event for the resched­uled French Open, which is set to be played at the end of next month and plans had been put in place for a biose­cure bub­ble to be cre­ated.

A state­ment from the tour­na­ment read: “As an act of re­spon­si­bil­ity in view of the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion caused by Covid-19, and hav­ing thor­oughly eval­u­ated the cir­cum­stances that the pan­demic con­tin­ues to gen­er­ate, to­gether with the com­pe­tent au­thor­i­ties, it has been de­cided that the 2020 Mu­tua Madrid Open will not take place this year, hav­ing pre­vi­ously been moved to Sept 12-20.

“In ad­di­tion, and af­ter a spike in Covid-19 cases, the com­mu­nity of Madrid an­nounced a few days ago a num­ber of new mea­sures to con­trol the virus’s spread, in­clud­ing a di­rec­tive that so­cial gath­er­ings are to be re­duced to 10 peo­ple, fur­ther re­duc­ing the fea­si­bil­ity of op­er­at­ing the tour­na­ment.”

The women’s WTA Tour re­sumed this week with the Palermo Open, with one uniden­ti­fied player pulling out on the eve of the tour­na­ment af­ter test­ing pos­i­tive for coro­n­avirus, while the men’s ATP Tour will start for the first time since March on Aug 22.

That tour­na­ment, the West­ern & South­ern Open, will serve as a warm-up event for the US Open, played on the same site a week later.

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