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Rafael Nadal could be tempted to skip US Open as ATP releases packed clay schedule

  • Rafael Nadal's USO participation could be in doubt as a fully loaded schedule on his favorite surface is on the horizon
  • The ATP Tour will resume with the CITI Open in the mid of August, followed by the US Open and the claycourt Masters.
Rajan Jaykar
ANALYST
News
Modified 17 Jun 2020, 22:10 IST
Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal

Full-fledged tennis action is all set to resume in August, much to the delight of the fans. A day after the USTA announced that the US Open would take place as scheduled, the ATP has announced the revised men's tour schedule for the other events. It is, however, unclear whether the top three players in the world - Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem - will be a part of all the big tournaments being planned.

The 2020 ATP Tour will resume from the 14th of August, with the CITI Open taking place in Washington D.C. The Cincinnati Masters, also known as the Western and Southern Open, will begin from the 22nd of August. However, the ATP 1000 Masters tournament has been moved to Flushing Meadows from its original location of Mason, Ohio.

The two hardcourt tournaments will be followed by the second Grand Slam of the year, the US Open, starting from the 31st of August.

The clay season of 2020 will begin with the Generali Open in Kitzbuhel from the 8th of September, followed by the ATP 1000 Masters Madrid Open from 13th September. Before the 2020 Roland Garros gets underway from the 27th of September, the tour will move to Rome for the Internazionali BNL d'Italia (Italian Open), which will kick off from 20th September.

The ATP has said that all the tournaments will take place under strict guidelines related to health and safety, and that they could see reduced or no fan attendance. ATP Chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said that the ATP is trying to reschedule as many tournaments as possible in the short window that has opened up.

"It has been a truly collaborative effort and we hope to add more events to the calendar as the situation evolves," Gaudenzi said. "At every turn, ensuring that the resumption of the tour takes place in a safe environment will be paramount."

However, packing so many tournaments into such a short span of time will undoubtedly be a matter of concern for the top players - most prominently Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem. The two claycourt experts wouldn't want to miss any of the events scheduled on red dirt, but coming as those do on the heels of the US Open, that would mean an incredibly strenuous workload.

Will Rafael Nadal miss the US Open this year?

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Rafael Nadal at 2019 US Open
Rafael Nadal at 2019 US Open

Defending champion Rafael Nadal had earlier raised concerns over the US Open 2020 taking place this year. He had expressed his reluctance about traveling to New York amid the rising cases of coronavirus in the city, while adding that the tournament shouldn't take place unless players from every part of the world can travel safely.

A five-time winner at Madrid and chasing a 10th title in Rome, Rafael Nadal would be looking forward to getting back on his favorite surface and add more clay titles to his resume. He would also want to prioritize claycourt match practice ahead of the all-important Roland Garros, where he will be bidding to win a record-extending 13th title.

However, Madrid is slated to start in the week immediately following the US Open, and Rome in the week right after that. In other words, if Rafael Nadal plays both the Slams and both the Masters, he would be on the court for six consecutive weeks - a tall order for anyone, but especially so for a 34-year-old.

A couple of weeks ago Rafael Nadal was asked whether he would opt to play in only one out of the two remaining Majors in 2020, given the extremely small gap between them. "If I have to decide, I will do it with my team," Nadal had replied. "And we will make the decision that we think is the best for my tennis, my future, and my body."

All things considered, Rafael Nadal could very well skip this year's US Open to focus on the clay season. And that may not be the worst decision.

Published 17 Jun 2020, 22:10 IST
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