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Nadal: Not Ready to Travel to Tournaments

Rafael Nadal says in the current coronavirus climate, he would not travel to New York to defend his US Open title.

The 19-time Grand Slam champion said if the US Open were played this week, he would not be comfortable playing. However the second-ranked Spaniard says he trusts the USTA will "make the right decision" on the 2020 US Open.

More: 34 Stats to Celebrate Nadal's 34th Birthday

The ATP and WTA jointly announced an extension of the pro circuit through the start of August.

The USTA is proposing moving the Western & Southern Open, traditionally staged in Cincinnati in August, to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows as a prelude to the US Open. Both tournaments would be played in succession likely without fans in an effort to minimize travel and exposure to the virus for players and staff.

The Tours are considering the proposal now, according to The New York Times

In a Zoom interview with the media, Nadal said he would not play in the current COVID-19 climate.

"It is not ideal. Right now I would not like to go play a tennis tournament in New York," Nadal said. "But I do not know in two months because we do not know if the situation is going to improve. I am sure that the people who organize the tournament want that the event is safe and that the French Tennis Federation wants the same thing.

"They want to play if everyone is going to be safe. I trust that they will make the right decisions at the right time. If there is not total security, there is no sense in playing because we have to be responsible and lead by example.

"It's not an ideal situation
if you ask me today if I want to travel to play a tennis tournament, I will say no. I am confident they will make the right decisions in the right moment to be sure that if (the US Open) is played it is going to be under extremely safe circumstances—if not, in my opinion, it doesn't make sense."

Tennis Express

The reigning Roland Garros and US Open champion said the international travel required for players and staff casts a cloud of concern over tournament tennis.

"We have a worldwide sport and my feeling is that we need to be clear and responsible," Nadal told the media. "It's not the same as football which can be played in one country. When you mix people from every single part of the world the complications are completely different.

"We need to understand that we are suffering an unprecedented situation and my feeling is we need to come back when all the players of all the world are able to travel under safe circumstances."

Still, Nadal, who celebrated his 34th birthday on Wednesday with birthday cake at the Rafa Nadal Academy in his native Mallorca, is confident tennis will eventually return safely.

"If not, in my personal opinion, will we come back? Yes, and I probably will play, yes, but my feeling will be that we are not being 100 per cent fair and correct," Nadal said.

Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve