Rafael Nadal is one spot behind Novak Djokovic in the ATP rankings—and not entirely in sync with the world No. 1 when it comes to the ATP Tour’s path forward.
In the aftermath of his Australian Open quarterfinal win over Alexander Zverev, Djokovic said mounting men’s injuries highlights a major danger: players are more vulnerable to pain, suffering and injury after serving 14-day quarantines.
World No. 1 Djokovic asserts tennis must consider creating an NBA-style bubble to play multiple tournaments and reduce injury risk because “the 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.”
The sixth-seeded Zverev agreed with Djokovic asserting “we can’t have a traveling circuit right now” given growing injury count.
Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Nadal says Djokovic is right that tennis’ global circuit presents complexities meeting different governmental regulations. However, Nadal doesn’t favor pressing pause on play.
Nadal says the ATP has two clear choices: stop the tour or keep playing. The 13-time Roland Garros champion favors continuing the tour because it provides jobs and “if we stop our sport again, a lot of people gonna suffer.”
“There is two options. Two options is stop the tour or keep going,” Nadal told the media in Melbourne after his five-set loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas. “My personal feeling is it’s tough for the players, of course, have to do bubbles in every single event, flying just plus two, 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 in 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?”
The two-time Olympic gold-medal champion suggests the ATP consider extending the time period for rankings to give players the option of playing or not.
“Probably we need to find a way to protect the players with the ranking, to not force them to keep playing, yes, 100%, because the situation is very tough for a lot of players depending on the countries,” Nadal said. “But that’s it. We need to find solutions and we need to adapt to this very tough times that we are facing. Not only us; world.
“We are here to find solutions. I mean, and we need to be grateful to life that we can keep doing what we are doing.”
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