Rafael Nadal has won Roland Garros twelve times and in these two weeks he would have been called to defend his crown in Paris. The Coronavirus emergency instead forced the organizers to postpone the second seasonal Grand Slam to the end of September, generating, among other things, countless controversies within the ITF, ATP and the players themselves.
The new start date should be September 20th, but it is likely that it will be postponed for an additional weeks to avoid overlaps with the Tour de France and allow for the qualifying contest.
Nadal on playing in empty stadiums
"I do not see the future from a professional point of view, but from a medical and health point of view,” the 19 time Grand Slam champion.
"As for Roland Garros, if it is possible to play in optimal conditions and in total safety, if everyone can play, if we are all together, yes, I will be there. But today we have to take precautions and be responsible with the right decisions to guarantee the safety and health of everyone in tennis."
Nadal is not a fan of playing in empty stadiums. “It is possible," Rafael Nadal explained. "Football is being played behind closed doors. But if you ask me if I like it, the answer is no. Nothing can replace the presence of the public and the energy it generates.
I feel good. Like the rest, I have not been able to leave the house in two months. Luckily, I had weight training machines at home to train and keep myself physically fit. Little by little I have resumed training several days a week, but not all seven.
It has been a gradual and very slow recovery that we have done with care and caution. The objective is to be ready for the day when we return to play tennis, but we still don’t know that." The former World number 1 says he understands that, but believes it should only be a temporary measure that society should not accept in the long run.
According to the Spanish magazine 'Marca', a video conference is scheduled between June 10th between players and ATP to discuss the future of the season. The New York Times reports that under a proposal the Cincinnati Masters could be switched to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center as USTA and Cincinnati organisers believe a move will minimize the travel risks. The USTA is expected to make an announcement about the US Open before the end of June.