Rafael Nadal said that he is ready to sacrifice the current season amid the coronavirus pandemic so tennis could return back to normal in 2021.
Over his career, Nadal has won 18 Grand Slam titles, and he was originally optimistic that tennis would resume playing this year. But now he doubts that it could happen because of the deadly virus that has put a halt on the sports world.
“I would sign up right now just to being ready for 2021,” Nadal said in interviews with El País and other Spanish newspapers published on Tuesday. “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 said having to move people from country to country for tournaments would make it hard for tennis to continue safely the rest of the season.
“Sadly, I’m not going to lie to you, the feeling is that we are losing a year of our lives,” Nadal said. “And at 33, 34 years old, that is more valuable than at 20, when you have more time ahead of you.”
Professional athletes have been allowed to continue practicing this week, but a lot of sports facilities and training centers around the world are still closed.
Tennis star Novak Djokovic apparently broke guidelines on Monday for going onto a tennis court at a club in Marbella, Spain. The tennis federation said players are not allowed to practice on courts yet.
“It’s not clear to me whether I can go practice or not,” Nadal said.