AceShowbiz - Tennis superstar Rafael Nadal has opted not to defend his U.S. Open title this summer due to coronavirus concerns.
The Spanish icon has become the latest high-profile player to withdraw from the upcoming competition in New York, explaining he doesn't feel comfortable travelling at present as COVID-19 cases in the U.S. continue to spike again.
Breaking the news to fans on Twitter, he wrote, "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 (sic).
"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, (and) it looks like we still don't have control of it."
Nadal joins the current women's number one, Australian ace Ashleigh Barty, who recently declared she will not attend the Grand Slam tournament.
Last year's women's champion, Bianca Andreescu, is still expected to compete although players have until the start of the competition on 31 August to withdraw if they so choose.
Bosses at the United States Tennis Association (USTA) received the official go-ahead from Governor Andrew Cuomo in June as it was revealed the annual tournament would be held as usual in Queens, although there will be no fans in attendance.
If all goes to plan, the U.S. Open will be the sport's first major event to take place since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, which forced the cancellation of Wimbledon and the postponement of the French Open.
Nadal's announcement emerged shortly after it was revealed the Madrid Open in Spain would no longer be taking place in September as a result of the ongoing pandemic.