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By Richard Pagliaro | Monday, April 27, 2020

Rafael Nadal

"From my point of view, I'm very pessimistic that the circuit can resume a normal activity," Rafael Nadal said.

Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve

Eternal optimist Rafael Nadal is "very pessimistic" the pro circuit will resume as normal this season.

The second-ranked Spaniard joined teammates Roberto Bautista Agut, Pablo Carreno Busta, Feliciano Lopez, Marcel Granollers and Spanish captain Sergi Bruguera in a live chat streamed by the Spanish Federation of Tennis to discuss the impact of the coronavirus crisis on sport.

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The 19-time Grand Slam champion said given the global travel and the staff required to run an international event, he does not envision tournament tennis returning in full force this season.

"From my point of view, I'm very pessimistic that the circuit can resume a normal activity," Nadal said. "In tennis, you need to travel every week, stay in hotels, go to different countries.

"Even if it we play without an audience, to organize any event you need a lot of people involved, which cannot be ignored. At an international level I see a serious problem."

The ATP and WTA jointly announced a continued suspension of the pro circuit until at least July 13th though that could be extended again.

The COVID-19 pandemic has killed more than 200,000 people with Spain especially hard-hit by the virus.

Students and some staff at the the Rafa Nadal Nadal Academy in his native Mallorca have been in lockdown for weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Nadal said the pain and suffering inflicted on so many people is a clear sign of the grave danger the virus poses—and the fact life and health must take priority over professional sport.

"We have had a very tough month and a half, with many irreparable losses as well as others that are less important that will still bring great suffering to society, I hope only for a few months, at the economic level," Nadal said. "Many people are going to lose their jobs...These are sad moments when you see so many people dying."

USTA CEO Mike Dowse said it's "highly unlikely" the US Open will play without fans, while Roland Garros unilaterally moved from its traditional May start date to September 13th.

Nadal is defending champion at Roland Garros and US Open.

Whenever tennis eventually resumes, the 33-year-old Spaniard says players will need time to recover fitness and form.

"It will be a very tough job to regain fitness and you will need lots of discipline and lots of suffering," Nadal said. "The sooner we can resume activity the better. From the point of view about going back to competitions, I'm pessimistic. But there are many other things more important than tennis."


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