Rafael Nadal calls for patience over Australian Open arrangements in wake of COVID-19

The Spaniard, who has never won the elite eight-man event, was beaten 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 by in-form Russian Daniil Medvedev, who will play Dominic Thiem in Sunday's final.

Agence France-Presse November 22, 2020 10:27:22 IST
Rafael Nadal calls for patience over Australian Open arrangements in wake of COVID-19

Rafael Nadal of Spain reacts during the semifinal match against Daniil Medvedev of Russia at the ATP World Finals tennis tournament at the O2 arena in London. AP

London: Rafael Nadal urged patience over the arrangements for the Australian Open after losing his last-four match at the ATP Finals in London on Saturday.

The Spaniard, who has never won the elite eight-man event, was beaten 3-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 by in-form Russian Daniil Medvedev, who will play Dominic Thiem in Sunday's final.

Australian tennis chiefs this week flagged "new challenges" around the arrival of players for the first Grand Slam of the year during the coronavirus pandemic.

In correspondence with players, the ATP — the men's tennis tour — said arrivals originally planned for December were now uncertain, potentially disrupting the packed January schedule.

With players facing a 14-day quarantine, any delay could make it difficult to hold the high-profile ATP Cup and other tournaments before the scheduled start of the Australian Open in Melbourne on 18 January.

It is also unclear whether players will be allowed to train during their quarantine.

Nadal, who did not travel to New York for the US Open this year, was asked after his defeat by Medvedev whether there were any circumstances under which he would not travel to Melbourne.

"I don't know what's the situation going to be yet," he said. "We need to wait about what the (state) government there in Victoria says.

"We can't do much from ATP position or just wait. We have nobody to say what they feel is better for their country.

"We just need to be patient and accept the situation that we are facing. That is difficult for everyone. We need to be flexible to understand the situation and to find a way to play as many tournaments as possible next year."

The 20-time Grand Slam champion said players and tournaments were in an unusual situation after so much disruption as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

"Hopefully with the vaccine, that ends soon and we can come back at least to close to normal in a couple of months, but now is a difficult situation," he said.

This year's Wimbledon was cancelled for the first time since the Second World War as a result of COVID-19 while the French Open, which Nadal won, was pushed back four months to September/October.

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