Rafael Nadal on Wednesday said he still intends to play at the French Open next month and remains hopeful it will go ahead, despite withdrawing from the US Open due to coronavirus concerns.
Nadal also insisted the US Open will not carry an asterisk without its defending men's champion, even if he admitted it will take place under "special circumstances", with several top players expected to sit out.
The 34-year-old Spaniard's withdrawal was confirmed shortly after the Madrid Open was cancelled on Tuesday, with a rise in coronavirus cases in Europe raising doubts around other events, including the French Open, which is due to start in Paris on September 27.
Nadal also explained his decision to pull out of the US Open. "My heart says today is not the moment to take long travels without knowing exactly what can and cannot happen.
"My decision is to stay at home in Mallorca where the situation is good, it looks under control here, and to wait for future opportunities."
Meanwhile, women's world number one Ashleigh Barty has also chosen not to compete in New York, where a depleted entry list in both the men's and women's draws looks inevitable.
Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray are all still due to play.
"The tournament is still big, it's a Grand Slam," Nadal said. "I am not arrogant enough to say the tournament is not big because I am not playing. There will be important players.
"Of course it's a tournament under special circumstances but still a Grand Slam and the winner will feel like the winner of a Grand Slam. It's true it will be under special circumstances with a lot of important players not travelling there."
Nadal also said lessons need to be learned after the "mistake" of the ill-fated Adria Tour in June, which was organised by Djokovic and led to several players, including the Serb, testing positive for coronavirus.
"I think most of the players want the best for the world and for people. Of course there was a mistake in the tour organised in Serbia and Croatia but mistakes are normal when you face a situation you haven't faced before," he said.*AFP
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