Nadal does't see tennis back soon, is worried about injuries

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FILE - In this Jan. 29, 2020, file photo, Spain's Rafael Nadal makes a backhand return to Austria's Dominic Thiem during their quarterfinal match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia. Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray are among 12 players confirmed to play in the virtual Madrid Open tennis tournament this month. There will be 150,000 euros ($164,000) distributed in prize money for each of the mens and womens events. The winners then decide how much they want to donate to tennis players who are having a hard time financially without any tournaments to play. Another 50,000 euros ($55,000) will be donated to reduce the social impact of the pandemic. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill, File)

MADRID – Rafael Nadal says it will be “very difficult” for tennis to return to action any time soon and is concerned about the risk of injuries when the sport resumes.

Nadal spoke in a joint interview with NBA player Pau Gasol that was published by Spanish newspapers on Monday.

“I don’t think training would be a problem, but competing... I see it very difficult,” Nadal said. “It’s a moment to be responsible and coherent, so I don’t see how we can travel every week to a different country.

“I would be OK playing without fans, even though that’s not what we want, but unfortunately, from what I’m seeing, even though things are improving, for our sport I don’t see it prudent to be competing again any time soon.”

Nadal pointed out that even though there is a smaller risk of contagion in tennis compared to team sports, there are many people involved in the organization of tennis tournaments, from hotels to other sectors of society.

“As far as competing, maybe our sport is the most complicated one, having to move a lot of people week after week,” he said.

Nadal, who has had to deal with a series of injuries throughout his career, is also worried that the risk of new injuries will increase when players return to action.

“When I hit a ball again, my arm is going to hurt in several places ... my wrist, my elbow,” the 19-time Grand Slam champion said. “When you are out of action, the risk of an injury is a lot greater than when you are exercising, even if just a bit.