Rafa Roundup: Will Rafael Nadal skip U.S. Open over COVID-19 concerns?

Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images


While the appearance of Djokovic and Nadal on the list does not guarantee that they will end up competing in the top-tier Masters 1000 event starting Aug. 20, the list does suggest that 16 of the ATP’s top 20 players are prepared to participate in the reboot of the tour.

Nadal is a greater question mark. He has said he is “not OK” with the USTA’s insistence that the American Grand Slam take place without fans in attendance. The 12-time French Open champion has been practicing, but only on red clay. This year’s French Open will limit attendance when it starts Sept. 27.

Although entered, Nadal remains a significant question mark. The left-hander has been training on clay, been confirmed by Feliciano Lopez to be entered in Madrid—which begins immediately after the US Open—and will be permitted to retain his 2019 US Open champion points for another year as part of the ATP’s revised ranking structure.

With neither tour penalizing players for withdrawing from events, a lot could change in the coming weeks—such as Nadal’s status—as players keep a close eye on COVID-19 trends in the U.S. and weigh pathways to their return on tour.

“It is not easy at all,” Moya answered when asked in a Facebook Q&A event what lockdown was like for Rafael Nadal and his camp.

“It is never easy to remain without playing for months. Fortunately, we have now resumed and it seems to us that we are on our way”

Moya has coached Rafael Nadal since 2016, and it is apparently every bit as great an experience as you’d imagine.

“Rafa is always open to receiving advice for improvement,” Moya explained.

After taking on the fan-led training session, Nadal commented, “Fans have been without tennis for months now, particularly mine since besides my practice routines at the Rafa Nadal academy I haven’t been active, so I really enjoyed putting on a special event for them.”

“Kia has been by my side since I was 17 years old and has played a big part in my journey as a professional tennis player and as a person. I’m excited to see what the next five years bring both on and off the court,” he added.

“My favourite opponents are one that I win against normally,” Rafael Nadal said in a Facebook Q&A.

“Well, I don’t know, I enjoy the challenges to playing against Roger Federer of course, against Novak Djokovic, against Andy Murray, against David Ferrer. I think there are a lot of great opponents and everyone gives you a different challenge and you need to adjust your game to be competitive. I don’t have a favourite opponent, I just enjoy the fact that every day we compete against a different one.”

VIDEO: 17-year-old Rafael Nadal takes on Morocco’s Younes El Aynaoui in Round 2 of US Open 2003


  1. Rafa and Novak are playing mind games as no one wants to give the other a free GS in view of the GOAT title being at stake.

    Novak knows that Rafa is probably the only player that can stop him from winning an 18th slam especially as the US Open court is a slow hard court, almost like clay. Rafa also fancies another victory in NY especially if Novak doesn’t play or if he plays and he’s thrown out early by a Tsistipas or Medvedev or a Thorn. Being a slow HC, the chances of an upset against Djokovic is very rife and it will be sad if Rafa is not around to capitalize on that.

    There are no easy choices for either of them hence the resort to mind games.

    My Opinion:
    1, Now, the chances of Rafa winning both the US Open and FO consecutively is 90% (100% for FO & 90% for USO). The chances of Djokovic winning both is 80% ( 90% for USO & 70% for FO).

    The chances of Rafa injuring himself is 85% while Djokovic’s is 40% as Rafa’s body is the more fragile.

    My Conclusion
    In view of the raging pandemic, and considering Rafa’s fragile body, I’d say Rafa should skip all the HC events and concentrate/play only clay court events.

    But, as always, we’d see what happens as events unfold ……cheers

  2. It’s irresponsible for the powers that be to proceed with the US Open, and if the do, it will not be so dissimilar to the decisions thus far by their much-maligned President.

    One cannot trifle with the safety and lives of players, their support team and the great number of staff in Flushing Meadows.

    I sincerely pray that Rafa gives this a miss and that all other players give their decisions to play, a re-think.

    Is it for fame, glory, prize money – none of these matter in the scheme of life when that very life is snuffed out.

    Ponder on these words:

    World: “There’s no way we can shut everything down in order to lower emissions, slow climate change and protect the environment. ”

    Mother Nature: “Here’s a virus. Practise.”


  3. Ash Barty’s pulled out now. I don’t know if it might be one of those things where everyone wants to leave a party but no-one wants to be the first one to go and, now that one big name’s said no, others will follow.

  4. In all honesty, how can sports be your focus when the pandemic is still raging uncontrollably? The Rafael Nadal team will make the correct call for him; it must be so difficult to focus and train. America
    is chaotic, and sports startups have been disastrous. Cancellations would not be surprising as the
    pandemic recognizes no boundaries-mental or physical, and foolish decisions have been made. Rafael Nadal has always been a master at setting priorities and recognizing that there are greater demands than tennis. While he would delight us with his play, he knows the real warriors today are fighting in hospitals every day. Stay healthy, stay tough and smart💪🤛👏👍🍀❤️

    EXCITING POWERFUL MATCH!!!!!:) VAMOS SWEETHEART!!!!!!!!!!:) ENJOY EVERYTHING AND HAVE A BEAUTIFUL TIME !!!!!:) WE LOVE YOU AND SENDING LOTS OF LOVE AND HAPPINESS AND VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:) XOXOXOXOXOXOXO

  6. Yes he will…I am thoroughly convinced he will not defend his title. I hope he will play Madrid & RG

  7. It’s not only the coronavirus situation: the change from hard courts to clay courts is going to be very quick, especially when you haven’t played a competitive match since January and, however fit you are and however hard you train, can’t possibly be at full fitness.

    • Rafa did play at the end of February and won the Mexico Open in Acapulco. I tend to think he will play the Southern & Western Open and/or US Open (perhaps not both) precisely because he has not had a competitive match in so long. If he skips New York, Djokovic and Theim and the others would have a big competitive advantage over him in terms of preparation going into the clay tournaments.

      As always I’m sure Rafa will weigh all the factors and make the best decision with his team.

      • I forgot about Acapulco. This year’s been so crazy that that seems like about 5 years ago! I’ve been watching this “Battle of the Brits” thing which Andy Murray, Dan Evans, Kyle Edmund et al are playing in. I gather that something similar’s been organised in the Netherlands, and I’m surprised there’s been nothing in Spain.

  8. I was surprised to see his name in the list of confirmed entries for Cincy, but, if he’s playing that, presumably he’s playing the US Open as well. But everything’s changing from day to day in this current difficult situation.

    • Buena decisión, en todos los aspectos, adelante y te esperamos, te queremos Rafa!!!

  9. If you and your team would play The US Open, once again I´ll be most glad and look forward to watch your stylish way of playing. With my best and friendly Greetigs from The Canaries, C. Javier

  10. Eventhough Rafa is listed on an unconfirmed list I can’t see him play US Open. I hope he stays in Europe to play Madrid & RG ….too much Covid19 in USA

  11. Rafa a Nadal is by far a giant among athletes in the history of tennis, but also, frankly, in this era of Sports in general. His pray talent, his longevity and adaptability to change along with the game and his unique Sens of humility and enormous respect for ALL tennis fans ( his and his opponents) his respect for The game if tennis AND his every opponent, from the Giants, to the young newcomers, to each person involved in the tournament he’s playing in, to MY personal favorite – his extraordinary control of his temper ( a true rarity particularly in tennis at this time) but I am referring to his singular achievement perhaps of ALL male ( I would think) athletes NEVER to have smashed a Raquet ( at least in while playing public / during a practice session or tournament) sets him apart from EVERY player, in my opinion. I Am biased in that I feel strongly that he IS the greatest MAN ever to play the game, as even a young hot-headed Roger Federer broke a Raquet or two on the your in his early years. His youthful play is very dissimilar to the calm, cool & collected Fed the world has grown to know & love. I too admire his passion and ability to make it look effortless, however Rafa’s ability to play each & every point as if it were the last one he would ever hit, us UN-matched, in my opinion. His dedication to his family ( actual and his ‘tennis family / team) and his coaches, his Uncle Toni & now Carlos Moya, also translate into his steadfast reliability on those closest to him, and also maintaining a healthy private life rather than the flashy life of athletes, tennis & other sports, which sets him aside from other players, his contemporaries and the so-called ‘Next Gen’ guys! Rafa & Fed, to a one-time player and avid fan, are the two Male players I believe will define the sport of Tennid for the ages, for generations to come. Of course Arthur Ashe, Rod Laver, Johnny Mac, Bjorn Borg. Ivan Llendl, Jimmy Connors, Sampras & Agassi etc will always be associated with the sport if tennis, but Riger Federer & Rafa Nadal embody the unmistakeable sportsmanship, the true love of fans globally and an enduring athletic prowess which has garnered the two equally humble gentlemen and friends a total of 39 Grand Slam titles since their record-smashing careers began. They’ve even transitioned from arch rivals, to friends, to quasi entertainers in charity matches, to exquisite teammates ( particularly as doubles partners) in the recently started Laver Cup event …. They are inextricably linked and equally loved by all … It would seem ! It’s been as much as honor fir we fans to watch them as I suspect they would BOTH say it has been to compete over all these years ! Once the lights go down on their professional careers, the questions will inevitably begin, Will they move on to COACHING and if yes, WHO? But first it’s time to see a ALL players return to competition safely!

  12. Rafa is time we want to see you playing tennis ,estay safe we love your fans 👍🎾😘❤️

  13. We well support Rafa is time we want to see your play tennis again,,stay healthy and safe Rafa 👍😘❤️🎾👍🎾😘❤️

  14. Hopefully Rafa will skip the US Open……but if he and his team decide to play, I will support him like I always do.
    Stay healthy, stay safe, Rafa ❤️
    Looking forward to watch you play whenever you think it is the right time!🤗

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