Current US Open champion Rafael Nadal shocked the tennis world when he announced he would not take part at Flushing Meadows due to health concerns over the coronavirus pandemic and with it comes an unwanted slice of tennis history.
World No.2 Nadal confirmed he would not defend his title after ‘following his heart’ and deciding not to travel during the global pandemic.
The Spaniard’s decision follows Roger Federer having already announced he would take 2020 off after a reoccurring knee injury, which has left the US Open without two of the ‘Big Three’.
But tennis writer José Morgado has pointed out it has been an astonishingly long time since a Grand Slam hasn’t had either Federer or Nadal compete.
The last time at least one of the two were not part of the Main Draw of a Grand Slam tournament was before the turn of the millennium in 1999.
The Swiss maestro, who now sits on 20-time Grand Slam titles, was knocked out in Round 2 of qualifying.
Last Grand Slam without Federer & Nadal?
US Open 1999.
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) August 4, 2020
Nadal, who is sitting just behind Federer 19 titles, was just 13 years old at the time.
Fans couldn’t believe the stat following Nadal’s withdrawal and some claimed it was an ‘end of an era’.
Others were overwhelmed to how many top ranked players were skipping the US Open.
If the US Open is played, it will be the first grand slam that will not have either Federer or Nadal in the main draw since the 1999 US Open.
— Michael Gallo (@Galloots) August 4, 2020
World No. 2 Rafael Nadal announced he will not play in this year's US Open.
This will be the first Major tournament without Nadal or Federer since the 1999 US Open.
Rafa is just 1 Gland Slam title shy of Federer for the most in tennis history. pic.twitter.com/k436XF0uxq
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 4, 2020
— Angelo Mangiante (@angelomangiante) August 4, 2020
Federer and Nadal are not playing...cancel it
— We Move! ³⁴ (@Kwesi_Gibson) August 4, 2020
The US Open continues on... without Rafa Nadal. It's the first Grand Slam in 20 years without Federer and Rafa.
Nadal won this event last year after defeating Medvedev in the Final. https://t.co/GIFUkD1IJq
— Pamela Maldonado (@pamelam35) August 4, 2020
Nadal’s US Open decision shocks fans
World No.2 Nadal confirmed he will not defend his US Open crown this year at Flushing Meadows as organisers released the singles entry list for the grand slam.
Nadal did not appear set to take part at the US Open after doubt from long-time trainer Uncle Toni.
Videos also surfaced of the 19-time Grand Slam champ training on clay, leading plenty of people to presume he was going to concentrate on the French Open a few weeks later.
But the current champ, alongside World No.1 Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams all entered next month's Western & Southern Open in New York, leading plenty to believe he would take part in the US Open.
But the Spanish champion announced he wouldn’t travel during the coronavirus pandemic.