India's top-ranked singles tennis player Sumit Nagal says that he considers the upcoming US Open title as good as any other Slam even though several top players, including defending champion Rafael Nadal, have decided not to travel to New York due to concerns about the global health crisis.
Three of the Top 10 on the men's side and six of the Top 10 on the women's side will not play at the US Open this year and several others lower down the rankings have also pulled out.
Nagal understands the decision of Rafa Nadal and others to opt out of the US Open
Speaking to the Firstpost media outlet in India, Nagal, who is India's top-ranked singles player says, "It's still a Slam, it’s still considered the US Open which is giving away 2000 (ranking) points and considering the title as good as any other title.
I understand Rafa and few other players have opted to stay out but that is their personal choice and you have to respect that. In my opinion, the situation is a bit weird, it's not a fun time right now for anyone but you got to do what you got to do."
Nagal had made the headlines last year in India after he qualified for the US Open and in his first main draw appearance at a Grand Slam, he played Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer in the first round and stretched him to four sets.
With Leander Paes and Sania Mirza also deciding not to travel to New York, India's hopes on the doubles side will be pinned on Rohan Bopanna, who also says that while the singles event may be lacking some big names, the doubles draw will feature most of the top teams.
"In doubles all the top teams are playing. There’s nobody who has pulled out. Everyone from rank 1 to rank 50 has entered. Yes the draw is smaller but all the top teams are playing." While Bopanna is already in New York, Nagal is currently playing a Challenger event in Prague where he won his first round match earlier this week.
The doubles draw has been halved this year due to the global health crisis and the qualifying events will also not be held.
The US Open, which Rafael Nadal won in five sets over Daniil Medvedev in the final last year, will begin in New York on August 31st.