Rafael Nadal indicates he plans not to defend the US Open title after he was announced as part of the field for the rescheduled Madrid Open
- Rafael Nadal undoubtedly doubts the US Open title, but will participate in the Madrid Open
- The Spaniard was announced in the field for the rescheduled clay event
- It is unlikely that Nadal would play in both the Spanish tournament and the first Major
- Nadal can instead focus on building up to Roland Garros in September
Rafael Nadal has indicated his intention not to defend his US Open title this year, potentially potentially a major blow to the US Grand Slam event.
The Spanish great was announced on Tuesday in the field for the rescheduled Madrid Open clay, which begins the day after Flushing Meadows.
“I spoke to my friend Rafael Nadal and he confirmed his participation in Madrid,” tweeted tournament director Feliciano Lopez.
Rafael Nadal has indicated his intention not to defend his US Open title in September this year
It seems highly unlikely that Nadal would play in both the Spanish event, which starts on September 13, and what will be the first Major-back.
With his history of knee problems, making a quick transition from hard to hard courts would be extremely risky, assuming he reached second week in New York.
So it seems that instead Nadal will focus on building until the end of September and Roland Garros, where he is almost invincible.
The tennis star is unlikely to play in both the Madrid Open and Flushing Meadows this year
If he skips the US Open, it would be the first time that a defending Grand Slam champion has voluntarily relinquished his title in over 40 years.
Another factor to consider is the ATP’s decision this week to temporarily switch to a rating system based on average results over 22 months instead of 12 months. This means that Nadal, who has spoken publicly that he’s reluctant to travel to New York anyway, can only match or lose ranking points by playing there as he won it in 2019.
He seems content to put all his eggs in the basket of Paris, where he could match Roger Federer’s 20 Major titles.
It seems likely that Nadal will focus instead on building his fitness for the French Open
The Spaniard has not yet withdrawn from the US Open, but if he does, Novak Djokovic will certainly travel more across the Atlantic to try and widen his list of 17 Grand Slam trophies.
Nadal’s absence would make a huge dent in the prestige of the New York tournament, especially since Roger Federer is already a non-runner due to an injury.
It casts doubt on the entire company, with a decision likely to take place by the end of the month. The US is suffering from severe coronavirus numbers in many states and while it is improving, New York has been hard hit.