Nadal wants tour to continue amid pandemic after Djokovic suggests cancellation

Rafael Nadal wants the ATP and WTA tours to find a way to continue through the pandemic, after Novak Djokovic said most players would want to cancel the season should quarantine measures similar to the Australian Open be required for future events.

Nadal, speaking after his epic five-set loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Australian Open quarter-final on Thursday morning, was asked what he thought of Djokovic’s comments.

Rafael Nadal, pictured, struck a more conciliatory tone than the world No.1 Novak Djokovic.Credit:Getty Images

Djokovic had said: “Talking to a lot of players, a majority of the players just don’t want to go ahead with the season if we are going to have to quarantine most of the tournaments.”

However, Nadal struck a more conciliatory tone than the world No.1.

“I don’t know, but if I am not wrong, I don’t see events that we have to do quarantine to play in the next couple of months,” he said.

“Because OK, yes, I agree [with Djokovic on quarantine being difficult], but is there any tournament that this thing gonna happen?

“But honestly, this was the first event that we had to do this quarantine. We didn’t have events before that with this quarantine.”

Nadal said tennis players had an obligation to those employed by the sport to do their best to continue through the pandemic.

“The situation that we are facing is tough, and the world is facing a very tough situation. That’s very clear. And he’s completely right that for our sport things are difficult because governments are changing the rules constantly. So it’s difficult to make predictions about how the things [are] gonna happen.

“My personal feeling is it’s tough for the players, of course, to have to do bubbles in every single event … a lot of players have family and they cannot have the family with them, so that makes our tour probably tougher than ever, no?

“But on the other hand, if we stop the tour, why and how and when we will be able to come back, and a lot of jobs gonna suffer a lot. I mean, not only players. A lot of people are living from our sport, no? If we stop our sport again, a lot of people gonna suffer, no?”

Nadal has won 20 grand slams, but only one of those is an Australian Open, with four losses in the final.

He said it was possible having a back injury for 20 days leading into the tournament contributed to his loss, but he was more adamant that his errors and the quality of Tsitsipas’ play were to blame for the loss.

Nadal has had more injuries coming into Australian Opens over the years, however.

“The only thing that I can tell you is I always prepared the proper way to be ready for here,” he said.

“I really believe that sometimes, yes, we can find a reason because we were not able to prepare the proper way because I have been injured in December and this stuff, and then you arrive here with very short preparation, this kind of stuff, yes, happens a couple of times.

“And other times, I mean, I probably have been unlucky, no?

“But … I am not the guy that I gonna find excuses on that or gonna complain about what happened, no. Just accept. I never considered myself an unlucky person at all. Doesn’t matter the injuries that I had. I think I am a very lucky person.”

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