19-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal has returned to training for the first time since the COVID-19 outbreak. The Spaniard revealed that and more during an interview with Mexican outlet La Voz de Galicia yesterday.
The 33-year-old Rafael Nadal hasn't played a match on tour since winning his 85th title at the ATP 500 Acapulco Open in February. The two ATP Masters 1000 tournaments at Indian Wells and Miami, followed by the entire clay leg of the tour, have been cancelled owing to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Rafael Nadal started the season with a runner-up finish to an inspired Novak Djokovic at the inaugural ATP Cup. He then suffered a quarterfinal loss to Dominic Thiem at the Australian Open, which helped his Serbian rival reclaim the number one ranking.
Rafael Nadal talks about his first day of training in over two months
During the interview with La Voz de Galicia, Nadal talked about how his first day of training in over two months went. This is what La Voz posted on their Twitter handle regarding their interaction with the Spanish left-hander.
The English translation of the tweet reads:
"The day he finally wielded a racquet at a friend's house, the winner of 19 Grand Slams talks with La Voz about his views on the #COVID-19 crisis and the return of the sport."
In the said interview, Rafael Nadal had this to say about how he managed to finally get back to hitting on the court:
"I've been able to train in a private house, because I'm not sure if I can go to the academy. So I preferred to avoid confusion and train at a friend's private country house."
The world's second-ranked player sounded happy that despite the disruption caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, life is limping back to normal.
"Luckily it seems that little by little we are containing this disaster. Since yesterday we have been able to go for a walk. It is something so simple that we have always taken it for granted but we enjoyed at being able to do it again."
Rafael Nadal also fondly recalled the time he visited a candy bar at the O Bao beach in Vigo in the year 2002, when he was playing Futures tournaments.
"There was a time when my routine included going to a candy bar on the O Bao beach in Vigo. A time when there were no suffocating expectations on me, so I could quietly go to the hotel after a game. It happened in the summer of 2002 at the Vigo Country Club, where I won my second future title."
When asked what attributes of that little boy in Vigo he still retained, Rafael Nadal remarked:
"Over the years everyone evolves, everyone changes. I don't have that energy. I had it at that time. Maybe that self-confidence or naturalness you lose a little. When you are young you are less afraid of everything.
"In 2002 I was young. Today I know that my words have an impact and I have to be careful. But the essence of my life has not changed. I still live in the same town. I still have the same friends, my life and my hobbies have not changed. I think that the most important thing is that I am still the same."
What else has Rafael Nadal been up to during the COVID-19 pandemic?
During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Rafael Nadal caught up with his good friend and rival Roger Federer in a video chat on Instagram. Unsurprisingly, the video garnered well over a million views.
Rafael Nadal has also received a video-chat request from mercurial Australian Nick Kyrgios, with whom the Spaniard has had a tempestuous relationship at best. It remains to be seen if Nadal does accede to that request and goes ahead with the interview, which has the potential to break the internet.