Rafael Nadal to return to competitive tennis at next week's Italian Open after seven-month layoff

Because of concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic, Nadal preferred not to travel to New York for the ongoing US Open. He last played in February, when he won a tournament in Acapulco.

The Associated Press September 08, 2020 20:19:03 IST
Rafael Nadal to return to competitive tennis at next week's Italian Open after seven-month layoff

Rome: Rafael Nadal is preparing his return to tennis after a seven-month layoff at next week’s Italian Open.

“The Foro Italico is always a special place for me and even more so this year as it will be my first tournament following a long period without playing,” Nadal, who has won the Rome tournament a record nine times, said in a video message played at the event’s presentation on Tuesday.

Because of concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic, Nadal preferred not to travel to New York for the ongoing US Open. He last played in February, when he won a tournament in Acapulco, Mexico.

The 14-21 September Italian Open, which was postponed from its usual slot in May, will therefore be Nadal’s main preparation for the French Open later this month.

Top-ranked Novak Djokovic, who was disqualified from the US Open, is also entered.

Rafael Nadal to return to competitive tennis at next weeks Italian Open after sevenmonth layoff

File photo of Rafael Nadal holding his trophy after beating Novak Djokovic in the 2019 Italian Open final. AP Photo

In all, 19 of the top 20 men's players are entered, with only No 4 Roger Federer missing because of injury.

Four-time champion Serena Williams headlines a women’s field that features nine of the top-10 ranked players — with top-ranked Ash Barty the only big name missing.

Barty cited potential health risks associated with COVID-19 when she announced earlier on Tuesday that she would not be traveling to Europe for either the Italian or French Opens.

No fans will be permitted inside to watch matches at the Foro Italico and players will be placed inside a “bubble” similar to that at the US Open. There will be frequent virus tests for players, coaches and others working at the tournament.

Players traveling from New York and other areas will not be subjected to the 14-day quarantine rule being applied to normal travelers — as long as they do not test positive for COVID-19.

Without ticket sales, prize money has been reduced by 40 percent from last year’s tournament.

“The economic damage to our federation is enormous,” said Angelo Binaghi, the president of the Italian Tennis Federation.

Binaghi was holding out hope until a few days ago that the regional Lazio government would allow a limited number of spectators at the tournament.

“It certainly would have made more economic sense to cancel the tournament, as many others have done,” Binaghi said.

Binaghi added that he expects the ATP Tour to approve a new tournament for Sardinia in October — only for this year.

Updated Date:

also read

Serena Williams says Tom Brady's NFL un-retirement 'really cool trend', reveals pressure from sister Venus
Tennis

Serena Williams says Tom Brady's NFL un-retirement 'really cool trend', reveals pressure from sister Venus

Williams didn't commit to following in the footsteps of Tom Brady who led Tampa Bay to victory in last week's NFL season opener.

Federer looks forward to meeting fans on 'a different type of tennis court'; Nadal says 'part of my life is leaving too
Tennis

Federer looks forward to meeting fans on 'a different type of tennis court'; Nadal says 'part of my life is leaving too

Federer, who brought the curtains down on his glittering career in a doubles match at the Laver Cup in London, promised fans this wasn't the last they were going to see of him in the world of tennis.

Roger Federer retires: ‘We’ll never see anything like this again’, Twitter emotional as Swiss legend bows out
Tennis

Roger Federer retires: ‘We’ll never see anything like this again’, Twitter emotional as Swiss legend bows out

Roger Federer's last match left the players and fans at the O2 arena emotional, but the fans not present at the arena were no different as they shared their emotions on Twitter.