Tennis legend Nadal pessimistic about return to action before 2021 - GulfToday

Tennis legend Nadal pessimistic about return to action before 2021


Rafael Nadal poses for photographers after winning a tournament. File

Rafael Nadal does not expect to return to play competitive tennis until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has decimated much of this year’s calendar.

“I hope we can return before the end of the year but unfortunately, I don’t think so,” the world number two told Spanish newspaper El Pais on Tuesday.

The pandemic has led to the cancellation of Wimbledon and the postponement of the French Open to September, while the status of the US Open, scheduled to take place as usual in late August, is still unclear.

Nadal, however, said he had practically written off the remainder of the year and was looking to the Australian Open in January 2021 as the next tournament he will play.

“I would sign up to being ready for 2021,” the Spaniard added. I’m more worried about the Australian Open than what occurs at the end of this year.

“I think 2020 is practically lost. I hope we can start up again next year, I really hope that’s the case.”

Meanwhile, the French Tennis Federation hopes professional players can resume individual training if the lockdown ends as planned.

FFT president Bernard Giudicelli says the protocol proposed was “favorably received by the sports ministry” and could lead to the resumption of training and other amateur activities.

Professional players would train on outside courts only at the national training center in western Paris or other approved training centers if approved. The national training center was made available for COVID-19 patients at the height of the virus outbreak.

Social distancing will remain in place with all staff on site obliged to wear protective masks. Players will not be required to wear them under the proposed guidelines.

All players must arrive alone and in their tennis gear and with their own rackets. Players will have a maximum of six balls and must serve only with their marked balls. All participants must keep their towels inside a bag throughout their stay.

Earlier, tennis legend Leander Paes, who made a guest appearance on the Education Webinar for Coaches, jointly organised by the All India Tennis Association (AITA) and the Sports Authority of India (SAI), on Monday said it is key to focus on learning new skills during the lockdown period.

The country has been under lockdown for more than a month now to curb the menace of COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is important to focus on learning new skills during the lockdown”, Paes said on how to best utilise this time away from tennis action and keep yourself active and mentally fit, as quoted by AITA’s official website.

The 18-time Grand Slam champion also spoke on what keeps him going even at the age of 46.

“For me, the relationships that I have had through tennis are the things that I cherish the most.

“Those relationships over generations are what’s special.

Paes recalled old relationships and had very special words for RKKhanna and Anil Khanna.

“When I started playing tennis, RK Khanna was the President of the AITA. I would not be who I am today without Khanna because he actually helped me in the Juniors, as a 14 or 15 year-old.

“He helped me get into the ITF Junior team. At that point, my family could not afford all the international coaching. And then after that Anil Khanna who was the President, took over the mantle of support.”

Paes also thanked others including Bishwadeep, AITA CEO for having been there over the last two decades in Davis Cup ties that Paes had played, always being there to give support.

Paes signed off from the Webinar with a message to coaches saying, “Greatest joy you can have is to see your students do well at tennis. Use the sport as a vehicle to make them good human beings.”

The Webinar, now in its second week, will have a session of “Coaching Young Children and Young People” by Kawaljeet Singh and Miguel Crespo from the International Tennis Federation will join as the guest speaker.



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