The announcement that Rafael Nadal will miss the 2020 edition of the US Open was received without too much surprise. From the start, the former World number 1 had expressed strong doubts about his presence in New York, where he will not be able to defend the title he won last year.
It is likely that the Spanish phenomenon wants to focus exclusively on Roland Garros, scheduled for late September after the Masters 1000 in Rome. In the event of a 13th victory in Paris, Rafa would equal the record of 20 Grand Slam titles of eternal rival Roger Federer (in the pits until 2021).
The Majorcan had repeatedly stressed that the absence of spectators represents a severe blow to the tournaments and to the players themselves, unable to charge up and find stimuli. In a column written for El Pais, Toni Nadal analyzed how the crowd is often able to influence the progress of matches.
Toni Nadal on tennis without spectators
"I find it difficult to accept and imagine the absence of the public in the stands," said uncle Toni. "There are many occasions when I have heard my nephew Rafael Nadal, like other tennis players like Roger Federer, address the spectators personally to thank their support and the important role they played in lifting a trophy.
I can assure you that these are not stop words or frozen sentences. The cries and fervor of the public after a great exchange, the emotion that the fans show during a victory and the disappointment of a defeat, it is also what gives meaning to this sport and nourishes the adrenaline of the tennis player," Toni added.
It cannot be ruled out that Roland Garros may be able to bring in a small number of spectators, but at the same time the increase in infections in Europe in recent weeks does not represent a good sign. We just have to wait and hope that everything evolves for the best.
Novak Djokovic will decide “in the next few days” whether or not to join the US Open champion Rafael Nadal in withdrawing from this month’s tournament. If the world No 1 pulls out, the tournament, due to start on 31 August, will be considerably weakened, given five-times champion Roger Federer is resting after a second knee operation and several other leading players in both draws have withdrawn or expressed reservations about travelling to New York, with women’s world No 30 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova the latest player to join the list of absentees.