World number two Rafael Nadal has echoed Stan Wawrinka’s belief that the 2020 tennis season could be over, as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. He revealed he’s more concerned about preparing for next year’s Australian Open.
The 19-time Grand Slam champion spoke to Spanish press to explain why he would prefer they started planning for 2021, rather than salvaging any tournaments this year.
His last appearance came at the Mexican Open, where he won his 85th career ATP Tour title after a straight-sets victory over world no. 24 Taylor Fritz on March 1.
Nadal was preparing to play at Indian Wells, which was postponed as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. This was the trigger for a worldwide sporting suspension to begin.
During an interview with Spanish newspaper El Pais (H/T: Associated Press’ Tales Azzoni), he said:
“I would sign up right now just to being ready for 2021. I’m more concerned with the Australian Open than with what happens later this year, I think 2020 has been practically lost. I’m hopeful of being able to start next year.”
Nadal voiced concerns over the logistics involved and difficulty caused by trying to have players travel from country to country for various tournaments amid the pandemic.
The ATP and WTA have suspended all tournaments through to July 13 at the earliest.
Wimbledon has already been cancelled, while Roland Garros organisers have been criticised for pushing the tournament back from its May 24 start date to September 20.
Given countries have different rules regarding events and lockdown restrictions with their response to the COVID-19 crisis, it’s hard to see a concrete compromise by July.
The Hamburg European Open (July 11-20) is a good example. Last month, German chancellor Angela Merkel agreed major events will be banned until the end of August.
There have been murmurs that it’ll be moved to September, but that would potentially clash with other events on the calendar.
That includes the US Open. The year’s final Grand Slam is scheduled for Aug. 24 – Sept. 13, but USTA CEO Mike Dowse told the AP (H/T: Boston.com) that a decision to postpone or cancel this year’s tournament is expected by sometime next month.