Rafael Nadal won Roland Garros for the thirteenth time last year and reached Roger Federer's Grand Slam record. Both are now at 20 career majors and have no intention of stopping. If the Swiss has decided to skip the Australian trip to recover 100% from his right knee injury and not to spend too much time away from his family, Nadal will start his season playing first an exhibition tournament in Adelaide and then ATP.
Cup, where he will represent Spain together with Roberto Bautista Agut, Marcel Granollers and Pablo Carreno Busta in the team competition born in 2020. The Spaniard will later compete in the Australian Open and will try to become the player with the most slams in his career.
Novak Djokovic will also be in Australia. The Serbian is stuck at 17 Grand Slam titles, but is the youngest player among the Big Three.
Krajicek on Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal
“It's no secret that Rafael Nadal is there,” Richard Krajicek said.
“(He is) one of my favorite players of all time. The intensity he brings to the field is unprecedented. His fighting spirit as well as his technique is an example for everyone. The fact that he is coming back to Rotterdam after so many years makes this tournament special."
Roger Federer is widely expected to follow his good friend Rafael Nadal to Rotterdam, but Krajicek believes that his event might be a bit too early for the Swiss legend. According to the Dutchman, Federer is more likely to make his return in the week after the Rotterdam Open - at Doha.
“I think Roger will play in Doha, the week after Rotterdam,” Krajicek added. “But if he's fit and ready to play, we will hear from him”. Since the players have arrived in Melbourne ahead of the 2021 Australian Open, there has been a barrage of complaints received by the CEO of Tennis Australia, Craig Tiley.
Many athletes have raised concerns over the poor quality of food while 72 players are under a hard lockdown because their fellow passengers tested COVID-19 positive upon arrival. Recently, Tiley organized a video conference with over 500 players to address their complaints.
A particular issue raised by players was the preferential treatment given to the top-players by allowing them to stay and train in Adelaide. While over 500 players are quarantining in Melbourne, top-ranked players like Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Naomi Osaka, Serena Williams, and many others are currently in Adelaide.