People often ask how men's tennis will look like once Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. This is already partially happening. The Big Three cannot play every single week and they are all having lighter schedules in order to be at their best in the four Grand Slams and possibly hold the Major titles' record.
The Beijing China Open has often brought great champions like Nadal and Djokovic in the past years, but something may be changing. Last year, the Spaniard had withdrawn from the Chinese event due to a knee injury, and this year he will play the Laver Cup again teaming up with Roger Federer for Team Europe barely two weeks after US Open ends.
That's why he may play just a few events in October, probably skipping Beijing where he played for seven years, winning 2005 and 2017 titles respectively beating Guillermo Coria and Nick Kyrgios. Nadal won 25 matches and lost five there, and he also lost 2013 and 2015 finals to Djokovic.
In 2019, the Belgrade native has chosen Tokyo over Beijing in order to get used to the court conditions prior to the 2020 Olympic Games. Four players have committed to Beijing so far: Dominic Thiem, Karen Khachanov, Fabio Fognini and Daniil Medvedev.
Here, in 2013, the Italian came close to beating Nadal. Thiem has previously played there in 2016 and 2015 always losing in the first round. Khachanov has never gone past the second round, losing to Nadal in 2017 and the eventual finalist Juan Martin del Potro in 2018.