Rafael Nadal has insisted that “tennis should wait a little more” before restarting play.
The Spaniard thinks tennis should set a positive example to the rest of society and the sporting world by postponing all tournaments until it is completely safe to play again.
Many other sports around the world are raring to start up again, with Europe’s major football and rugby leagues announcing a return in the near future.
Despite this, the 19-time Grand Slam champion is adamant that the sport should stay on hold until every player can guarantee that they are able to play and travel safely.
Currently, the US Open is still scheduled to go ahead on the 31st of August, Nadal says he has absolutely no desire to go to New York to defend his title.
"If you asked me if I want to travel to New York today to play a tennis tournament, I will say no - I will not," Nadal, 34, told reporters at a time when the French Open should have been reaching a climax.
"But in a couple of months, I don't know how the situation is going to improve. I am confident that if the tournament is played, it's going to be under extremely safe circumstances. If not, in my opinion, it doesn't make sense."
The US Tennis Association is expected to decide later this month whether it will be possible to stage the US Open behind closed doors.
"My feeling is we need to be responsible, sending strong messages, and be a positive example for the society," Nadal continued.
"We need to understand we are suffering an unprecedented situation and my feeling is we need to come back when all the players, from all the countries of the world, are able to travel under safe circumstances. I want to see my sport being 100% fair and correct.
"The key, of course, is to find a medicine that helps us to be sure we can travel and compete without being scared of having the virus and bringing back the virus home. My feeling is we need to wait a little bit more."
Nadal also revealed he is only gradually returning to training, having not picked up a racquet for two and a half months.
"As you can imagine, I need to take things step by step," he said.
"I just try to avoid injuries and increase the amount of work every single week. I'm not practising every single day; I'm just practising a couple of days a week."
The only way the tournament could feasibly go ahead would be with the implementation of strict safety measures. The players would be forced to stay in a hotel near LaGuardia Airport in New York City to be tested up to three times a week.
Whilst tennis is a singles game on the court, the players have a whole entourage of coaches, physiotherapists, fitness coaches and more who are essential to the player’s success on the court. For the tournament to go ahead the competitors would only be allowed to bring one person from their camp.
World number one, Novak Djokovic, is sceptical about the tournament taking place as he feels it would be difficult to play under these conditions.
"The rules that they told us that we would have to respect to be there, to play at all, they are extreme, it would be impossible.”
With the United States still recording a vast amount of daily coronavirus cases and their government seemingly underestimating the virus, it is clear to see why Nadal is so concerned.
For the top players, it doesn’t make sense for them to risk playing if they can’t enlist the help of all their usual aides and so it is not worth it for them as they can fall back on their previous earnings.
However, the cancellation of the tournament will cause havoc for the less successful players as well as the sport itself.
The main cause for concern is the financial devastation caused by the necessity to cancel major tournaments.
Low reputation players rely heavily on the majors to generate enough income, so with the US Open on the rocks, it could have spelt trouble for them. However, the governing bodies of the sport have come together and formed an incredible initiative to ensure the financial safety of its players.
The Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), International Tennis Federation (ITF) and the four Grand Slam tournaments have raised over $6 million to create a Player Relief Programme that will support players who are particularly affected by COVID-19.
With this safety net now in place, it means that the tournament is no longer a necessity for the tournament to go ahead as no one is dependent on it to make a living.
All things considered, Nadal is right in saying the US Open should be cancelled as it could jeopardise the safety of the players, officials, and fans. The risk does not outweigh the reward.
This article was written exclusively for golear.co.uk