Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal
AFP

Defending champion Rafael Nadal has announced his withdrawal from the US Open, stating concerns over the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

The world number two men's tennis star also criticised the revised calendar for tennis and labelled it as "barbaric".

"After many thoughts I have decided not to play this year's US Open. The situation is very complicated worldwide, the COVID-19 cases are increasing, it looks like we still don't have control of it," Nadal said in a tweet.

"We know that the reduced tennis calendar is barbaric this year after 4 months stopped with no play, I understand and thank for the efforts they are putting in to make it happen. We have just seen the announcement of Madrid not being played this year," he added in another tweet.

"This is a decision I never wanted to take but I have decided to follow my heart this time and for the time being I rather not travel," Nadal added.

Roger Federer will also not be a part of this year's Grand Slams as he continues to recover from an injury.

As a result, this US Open will be the first since 1999, that neither player has featured in the main draw of a Grand Slam event.

Earlier, it was announced that US Open will be played from August 31-September 13 this year.

The matches will be played behind closed doors and New York governor Andrew Cuomo had assured that robust testing will be conducted so that the tournament goes ahead smoothly.

Meanwhile, World No. 1 Novak Djokovic headlines the initial men's singles entry list for the US Open, the organisers have announced. Djokovic, a three-time US Open champion, leads an entry list that includes seven of the world's Top 10 men, who are set to compete August 31-September 13 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, New York.

(with agency inputs)

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