If this was a normal year, Rafael Nadal would have been in Paris in the last week of May, as three-time defending champion on his favourite red clay at Roland Garros.
But with the tour suspended and French Open postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Spaniard was at home and said he hadn’t touched a racquet since Indian Wells in March, the first tournament to be cancelled.
At a time when he would have been dominating his peers at French Open, the world No 2 seems to have dusted off his tennis kit and put in the hard yards on his home court instead. On Monday he shared a video footage of him back at practice at his Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca. He had previously posted a photo of him back on court as lockdown restrictions through Europe have eased.
“Hello everyone, here I am, finally back on court. Happy to be back to my practices. I’m super happy, too, that the kids can practise again here at the Rafa Nadal Academy. They are happy, and that’s the most important thing,” he said in the video.
In an Instagram live in late April, Nadal had told Roger Federer that he has not picked a racquet for over a month. To which the Swiss had cheekily replied, ““Perfect, you won’t be able to play tennis anymore when you come back.”
Nadal had admitted that he was only focussing on physical training. “I am not playing tennis, I do not have a court at home and I miss it a little,” he had said.
“I am sticking to my physical routines. From the gym of my academy they were able to bring me some machines when the lockdown began so I try to work a little in the morning, a little in the afternoon. It is very important to have both the head and the body focused and it is what I am trying to do at all times.”
The Spaniard believed the chances of tennis restarting before the end of this year are slim. “I hope to play as soon as possible but if I think about it logically, we travel every week from one place to another, we are in contact with hotels, airports, all in different places,” Nadal had earlier said.