Rafael Nadal has defended his rival and fellow member of the Big 3 club, Novak Djokovic and his ill-fated Adria Tour. The exhibition tournament, which was supposed to be played across four countries in the Balkans, had to be cut short after four players, including Djokovic, tested positive for the virus.
“I think most of the players want the best for the world and for people,” Nadal said during a video conference from Spain.
“Of course, there was a mistake in the tour organised in Serbia and Croatia but mistakes are normal when you face a situation you haven’t faced before.
“Every decision can be right or wrong. We are facing unpredictable situations. I really hope people learn from the Adria Tour and we continue in the best way possible.”
The Spaniard has decided not to defend his US Open title due to the health and safety concerns amid the Covid-19 spike in America. But Nadal said that despite the ‘special circumstances’ it will still be a major tournament.
“The tournament is still big, it’s a Grand Slam,” the World No 2 said. “I am not that kind of a person, I am not that arrogant to say that the tournament in not big enough because I’m not playing.
“Of course, it will be a tournament under special circumstances but still a Grand Slam, and the winner will feel it, like a Grand Slam winner.”
The USA has been hardest hit by the pandemic, recording close to 5 million cases and more than 161,000 deaths so far. The USTA has decided to stage the US Open behind closed doors, from August 31, and the players will be kept in a bio-secure bubble.
“I respect and understand that there are lot of players that are in different situations than me and need to play,” he said. “They need to make some money because they are facing financial problems.”
Nadal, who is just one short of Roger Federer’s record tally of 20 major titles, is most likely to play the French Open but said he had not decided on his schedule yet. He had confirmed for the Madrid Masters but it was cancelled due to a second wave of Coronavirus cases in the Spanish capital.
“I don’t know my schedule, honestly. I don’t know what’s going on after the cancellation of the tournament in Madrid,” he said.
“But I will be ready, I will be preparing myself for the tournaments, for the clay in Europe. Then, when the moment arrives, I got to take my personal decision depending on the situation.”