Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 13 July 2020

Rafael Nadal 'very pessimistic' tennis season will return to normal anytime soon

Professional circuit has been suspended since the start of March and will not return until at least the end of July

Men's world No 2 Rafael Nadal has admitted he is "very pessimistic" that the tennis season will return to normal any time soon because of the risks involved with constant travel during the coronavirus pandemic.

Professional tennis has been halted since the start of March and will not be returning until at least the end of July. The lockdown has therefore caused the cancellation of numerous tournaments, most notably Wimbledon for the first time since the Second World War.

Meanwhile, the French Open - where Nadal is the defending and 11-time champion - has been rescheduled to September from its original May-June dates.

"From my point of view, I'm very pessimistic that the circuit can resume normal activity," Nadal said in an online chat organised by the Spanish Tennis Federation.

"In tennis, you need to travel every week, stay in hotels, go to different countries.

"Even if we play without an audience, to organise any event you need a lot of people involved, which cannot be ignored. At an international level I see a serious problem."

The coronavirus outbreak has decimated the world sports calendar, forcing the postponement of the Olympic Games and football's European Championships and Copa America among many other events.

"We have already said many times we are in a very difficult moment, for everyone," Nadal, 33, said.

"Step by step it looks like things are slightly less bad, but we've been through one-and-a-half very tough months, lots of irreparable losses and other losses that are less important, but without doubt will cause suffering in society in the following months.

"I hope it will be months not years because it's also an economic issue as well. Lots of people are going to lose their jobs. These are sad moments when you see so many people dying."

Nadal said that even when tennis does resume the players will need to recover their fitness levels.

"It will be a very tough job to regain fitness and you will need lots of discipline and lots of suffering," he said. "The sooner we can resume activity the better. From the point of view about going back to competitions, I'm pessimistic.

"But there are many other things more important than tennis."

Updated: April 27, 2020 08:36 AM

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