Rafael Nadal the latest star to withdraw from US Open

Defending champion Rafael Nadal will not play in the US Open, citing concerns over the coronavirus and slamming tennis' "barbaric" revised calendar.

"After much thought, I have decided not to play this year's US Open. The situation is very complicated worldwide, the Covid-19 cases are increasing, it looks like we still don't have control of it," the 34-year-old said on Twitter on Tuesday.

But the Spaniard confirmed yesterday that he will be taking part in the French Open, which takes place a fornight after the Aug 31-Sept 13 US Open in New York.

With Nadal's long-time rival Roger Federer already ruled out of the tournament as he recovers from knee surgery, the US Open will mark the first time since 1999 that neither player has featured in the main draw of a Grand Slam event.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic will have a golden opportunity to land an 18th Grand Slam singles title. He will be joined by Dominic Thiem (No. 3), Daniil Medvedev (No. 5) and Stefanos Tsitsipas (No. 6).

On the women's side, Australia's world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty has also withdrawn from the New York event. - AFP