Rafael Nadal may have to choose between the US Open & Roland Garros, says Uncle Toni
- Rafael Nadal would find it difficult to shift from hardcourt to clay in such a short time, according to his uncle Toni.
- Toni Nadal also spoke about his nephew's goals for the remainder of the truncated season.
In an interview with Mundo Deportivo, Rafael Nadal's uncle and long-standing coach Toni Nadal spoke about his experiences of coaching his nephew, the evolving goals of the World No. 2 and how the 2020 season is expected to pan out for him.
As the COVID-19 outbreak led to a slew of tournaments being cancelled or postponed, the US Open and Roland Garros will now be held in the space of six weeks. In this regard, Toni Nadal said that Rafael Nadal is unlikely to play two Grand Slam tournaments on two different surfaces, as it would involve a very short turnaround from hardcourt to clay.
Toni Nadal took the example of Novak Djokovic, who had earlier suggested he could skip the US Open (Djokovic has since done an about-turn, saying instead that he is 'excited' to play the New York Slam). But Rafael Nadal could still follow that idea, according to his uncle.
"I think Rafael can also consider choosing one just like Djokovic has said," Toni said. "Almost in the same month two Grand Slams, changing surface ... With the US Open, Madrid, Rome and Roland Garros in a row, I think many players will go for one (of the two Grand Slam tournaments)."
Rafael Nadal has sometimes played the Davis Cup final in December: Toni Nadal
Toni Nadal was asked how Rafael Nadal would cope with the possibility of an extended 2020 season and a likely short turnaround for the next one. But the 50-year-old shot down that concern, reminding everyone that his nephew has in the past played the Davis Cup in December and then gotten ready in a few days for the next season.
"In the end the calendars are hectic and it is difficult," Toni said. "I think it is possible that it will last until December because years ago we ended the seasons in December. Rafael has sometimes played the Davis Cup final in December. You had 10 days off and then you got ready again."
The 2020 season had started with Rafael Nadal just one Grand Slam title away from tying Roger Federer's all-time record of 20. Though the World No. 2 may still equal Federer's tally at Roland Garros later this year, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced Rafael Nadal to re-calibrate his goals for the year.
Toni Nadal said that in times of a humanitarian crisis, with Spain being one of the worst-affected COVID-19 countries in mainland Europe, tennis has taken a backseat for Rafael Nadal - at least until things return to normal
"I think this situation has changed us all a little," Toni said. "My nephew has a great commitment to tennis, but when he has seen the problem that the pandemic has caused here in Spain, it is normal for something to change him. More would be missing. Then, with the passage of time, everything returns to normal. I think it makes all of us think a little and see that there are things that we attach importance to when they really don't."Published 22 Jun 2020, 18:56 IST