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13 Grand Slam Winners to Compete at U.S. Open, Nadal and Federer Sit Out

Tennis

When the U.S. Open begins on August 31st (with a smaller paycheck than normal), only one of last year’s champs will be there to defend their title: Bianca Andreescu is in, Rafael Nadal is out.

August 06, 2020
Charles Krupa/AP
Charles Krupa/AP

The GIST: When the U.S. Open begins on August 31st (with a smaller paycheck than normal), only one of last year’s champs will be there to defend their title: Bianca Andreescu is in, Rafael Nadal is out. 

But why?: On Tuesday, World No. 2 Nadal announced that he would not try to repeat his 2019 U.S. Open win due to his reluctance to travel during the pandemic. Nadal thanked organizers for their efforts but has decided to join his bestie Roger Federer — who is recovering from knee surgery — as at-home spectators this year.

  • Nadal has been a strong voice against tennis’ rush to return to play, so his opt-out isn’t shocking. What is shocking is that this will be the first time since 1999 that the U.S. Open will not feature Nadal or Federer. Is this the end of an era?
  • Similar to Nadal, top-ranked Ashleigh Barty has also opted out of the Grand Slam, with the Aussie citing travel concerns as her reason. Fair.

So who is playing?: Andreescu, who last year became the first Canadian to ever win a Grand Slam, will be back to defend her title (and we’re hoping she brings her mom and dog, too). Last year’s runner up is confirmed to play, too: Serena “The GOAT” Williams, who’s looking for her record-breaking 24th Grand Slam title.

  • The women’s side will feature 13 Grand Slam winners, including this year’s Australian Open champ Sofia Kenin and World No. 2 Simona Halep. On the men’s side, World No. 1 Novak Djokovic (pronounced JOKE-OH-VITCH) is hoping for an easy run without his two greatest rivals in the field.