Rafael Nadal Set to Miss Title Defense at US Open 2020

Published 07/13/2020, 10:50 AM EDT


As the tennis season is nearing its return, Rafael Nadal poses an interesting scenario. The World No.2 is the defending champion in three of the four tournaments scheduled to happen. All the four tournaments will happen continuously and so no player will have time to rest.

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But Nadal could take a different route. And over the past weeks, few things have aligned together so well that it could indicate that Nadal can skip the US Open. He is the defending champion at the Flushing Meadows but the Spaniard would be comfortable playing in Europe where the pandemic is slowing down. Here’s why.

As the lockdown has been eased across Europe players are out on courts practicing to reach match fitness. In the above video, Nadal is seen practicing on a clay court. The first two tournaments of the revised calendar are Cincinnati Masters and the US Open which are on Hard courts. This could indicate that Nadal is preparing for the clay season and skipping the US circuit.

Why would Rafael Nadal skip the US Open?

Last month Nadal raised concerns with the pandemic situation in the US. He deemed it a risk going to the US. Rafa doesn’t want to take that risk and instead of traveling to the US, he might just play in the clay tournaments in Europe.

Also last week the new revised ranking systems came in. Simply put, Nadal will not lose his 2000 points if he skips the US Open. So he won’t have to risk his ranking points. This is important because Nadal has confirmed that he will participate in the Madrid Open. The Madrid Open is just after the US Open. So it will be a tiring affair to travel from the US to Spain without any break.

“I talked to my friend Rafael Nadal and he has confirmed his participation in Madrid next September,” Feliciano Lopez, Tournament Director, Madrid Open.

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Although there has been no confirmation from Rafa’s camp, his uncle Toni Nadal had a few comments regarding his nephew’s participation in the US Open. Toni indicated that Rafa is hesitant and it’s impossible to compete in the US Open, Madrid Open, Italian Open, and French Open in one month.

He was hesitating; he told me about the calendar. It is difficult in a month to do the US Open, Rome, Madrid, and Paris; it is almost unfeasible,” Toni said.

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Going by all this it won’t be surprising if Nadal skips the US Open to compete in the clay tournaments. For now, there is no confirmation about his participation but he will be closely analyzing this with his team. 

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Bhavishya Mittal

1226 articles

Bhavishya Mittal is a tennis author for EssentiallySports, who is currently pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Manipal University. A former sports editor for The Manipal Journal, Bhavishya has also worked for The New Indian Express. He has a keen eye for many sports but he is a particularly ardent follower of tennis, with a zest to create riveting articles on the ever-evolving sport.

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