As was expected, the 19-time Major champion Rafael Nadal will skip the upcoming US Open. The Spaniard will not defend the title won a year ago, keeping those 2000 points safely in his pocket and continuing preparations for Rome and Roland Garros on beloved clay.
Nadal wasn't happy with the rules and regulations considering the coronavirus safety measures in New York, opting to stay at home and seek another chance of reaching Roger Federer's 20 Major titles. Explaining his decision, Rafa said he never felt comfortable traveling to the USA at this moment, especially with the European clay-court swing being just around the corner.
On the other hand, world no. 2 has given kudos to both the ATP and USTA to organize the event in such difficult times, understanding the players' desire on the entry list to chase the title and money in New York. Rafa is yet to decide about playing in Rome or not, waiting for more news in the upcoming weeks.
In the last year's US Open final, Rafa took down Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 in four hours and 49 minutes, collecting the 19th and so far the last Major title. The Spaniard became the fifth player in the Open era with four titles in New York, giving 120% to overcome the young Russian and move closer to Roger Federer.
Daniil had played over 20 matches in the previous six weeks, saving enough energy to challenge Rafa in the last three sets and produce a memorable final for the crowd on Arthur Ashe. Both players had more winners than unforced errors in an incredible mixture of attacking tennis and a mind-blowing defense.
Rafael Nadal has decided to skip the US Open.
Nadal was two sets to love ahead and with a break in the third before Daniil started to climb back, stealing the third set and winning the fourth to set up a decider in what could have been the most significant turnaround at the US Open in seven decades.
Nonetheless, Nadal survived in the fifth set's opening service game and moved over the top with a double break, barely bringing the victory home to fall to the ground in disbelief. Rafa has played three tournaments so far in 2020, reaching the final for Spain at the ATP Cup, losing in the quarter-final at the Australian Open to Dominic Thiem and lifting the 85th ATP crown in Acapulco.
"I am not the one to say if it is a wise decision or not. I respect all the work and the ATP's and USTA's positive attitude for bringing tennis back. I also respect the other players who have decided to travel to the USA, because, for example, they have a different situation and want to earn the needed money there. I respect all decisions, but today it is difficult to say what is the right thing to do," Rafael Nadal said.