Nadal to skip U.S. Open over COVID-19 concerns

Rafael Nadal is a 5-time tennis champion at the U.S. Open, including in 2019, but he confirmed Tuesday (August 4) that he will not be returning to the court at Flushing Meadows to defend his title this year.

Spain's Nadal said in June he had reservations about travelling to the U.S. amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but he has now posted on Twitter saying: “cases are increasing, it looks like we still don’t have control of it.”

"I am the defending champion there but my personal feeling, my heart says today it's not the moment to have this long travel without knowing exactly what can happen or what can't happen. So, my decision is to stay here"

He joins women’s world number one Ash Barty in skipping the event, which is due to begin at the end of the month and without fans in attendance.

Novak Djokovic is still among those on the entry list and is expected to play, despite contracting coronavirus last month, while competing in his own Balkan tournament.

Serena Williams also remains on course to play in the New York event, but another former champion, Roger Federer, was already set to miss out as he recovers from knee surgery.