After withdrawing from the US Open due to COVID-19 concerns, Rafael Nadal will not be rushed into defending his title at Roland Garros in late September.

The world No. 2 said he would not travel to the US due to unease with the health situation in the world’s most badly affected country despite New York officials promising to stage the major inside a quarantine bubble with no spectators or media.

“I’m hopeful things will get better in the future, thus I’m going to keep on with my preparation to try to be ready to compete when I feel ready & feel like competing fully focused on it,” the Spaniard said in a video chat from his island base in Mallorca.

“That is, when my mind and motivation are fully on the competition rather than on many other things that can make competing more difficult.”

Nadal’s absence from the US Open means that one of his two 2019 Grand Slam honours will go undefended; but under temporary ATP ranking rules, any 2020 result there could not have bettered his 2019 showing or point total.

He was also badly let down when the Madrid Masters on clay, which would have begun on September 13, was called off due to the virus crisis.

“I can only agree with it (cancellation) even if it hurts me to miss the chance to play at home in a place that I love. I was excited to play in Madrid, but once it’s been canceled, we have to see what happens with the schedule.

“I don’t have a (return) date and besides I think we have to wait a little bit and see how things evolve in the States, as well as how the situation with the outbreaks we’re currently living is in the next few weeks and from there just take decisions.”

Nadal admitted: “the ideal scenario for me would be to return to competition before Roland Garros (from September 27). But, again, we have to be cautious.

“We’re facing is a big unknown and thus we have to be ready to assume and accept any kind of situation and then take decisions depending on how things evolve”

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