Reigning champion Rafael Nadal shocked the US Open by declaring that he will not defend his title in New York this month.
His announcement came just hours after the clay court Madrid Open - to which he had committed announced that it was not going ahead in September due to the rising number of Covid cases in the Spanish capital.
It was easy to conclude from that the likelihood that Nadal would travel to New York, but instead he swiftly put out a statement saying that he would not go under any circumstances.
He joins women’s world No 1 Ash Barty in declining to play, and it is becoming clear that this is going to be a somewhat depleted field at Flushing Meadows, assuming that the event goes ahead at all.
“After many thoughts I have decided not to play,” said Nadal. “The situation is very complicated worldwide, Covid cases are increasing, it looks like we still don’t have control of it.
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