Despite the absence of Carlos Moya, Rafael Nadal will still be surrounded by most of his collaborators at the Australian Open: Francisco Roig - the only coach for the occasion -, the physiotherapist Rafael Maymó, the agent Carlos Costa, the communication manager Benito Barbadillo and dad Sebastian are all part of the large expedition.
Expedition which, news of the last few hours, also includes Marc Lopez, called up to play the role of sparring partner. Lopez, who together with Nadal won five doubles titles among which gold at the Rio 2016 Olympics, will return to competitions at the Australian Open after a year spent coaching Feliciano Lopez, paired with Pablo Carreno Busta and favored by protected ranking.
The presence of the Catalan doubler does not exclude that of Jannik Sinner, partner designated for Nadal's training in confinement, whose arrival in Adelaide was confirmed in the morning by Riccardo Piatti himself. In a recent interview with Mundo Deportivo, Sergi Bruguera, now aged 50 and the captain of the current Spanish Davis Cup team, claimed it is not possible to talk about his and Nadal's achievements in the same breath.
Bruguera talks about Rafael Nadal
With the Davis Cup being cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Spain didn't get a chance to defend the title they won in 2019, under the captaincy of Sergi Bruguera. The 50-year-old is optimistic that the tournament will be held in 2021, but believes that it will all depend on the global health situation towards the end of the year.
"I am not a doctor, but the vaccines are already here and are being given," Bruguera said. "I understand that in so many months the situation will have improved. I do not know if it will be possible to play with total normality, but I suppose that there may already be at least a little audience."
Before Rafael Nadal's incredible 13 Roland Garros trophies, the record for most French Open men's singles titles was held by Max Decugis - who claimed eight in the early 1900s. "At that time it was unthinkable for me to win two Roland Garros.
Until then, only seven or eight players had won two Roland Garros in history. It was an extraordinary thing. Obviously today what Rafael Nadal does at Roland Garros is incomparable. You cannot talk about both things in the same sentence," Bruguera said.
Meanwhile, just as players started boarding flights to the Victorian capital before the 2021 Australian Open, the health authorities found two people testing COVID-19 positive upon their arrival at Melbourne. The two people were on the charter flight QR7493 from Los Angeles alongside the two-time Australian champion Victoria Azarenka, Sloane Stephens, and Japanese star Kei Nishikori.