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Reports: Rafael Nadal to practice with Marc Lopez during Adelaide quarantine

Rafael Nadal at the 2020 Australian Open
Rafael Nadal at the 2020 Australian Open
FEATURED COLUMNIST
Modified 12 Jan 2021, 21:24 IST
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World No. 2 Rafael Nadal has picked fellow Spaniard and close friend Marc Lopez as his practice partner during the quarantine in Adelaide, according to MARCA.

Nadal was earlier scheduled to train with rising Italian Jannik Sinner in the first week of the quarantine upon reaching Australia. The pair were then planning to combine with Stan Wawrinka and Diego Schwartzman in the second week of the quarantine, as part of the arrangements laid down for the players in Melbourne.

But Tennis Australia has now decided to quarantine a smaller group of about 50 people, including some of the game's biggest stars, in Adelaide. Rafael Nadal's plans, accordingly, have undergone a sea change.

For allowing the players to quarantine in Adelaide, the authorities wanted some professional tennis to be played in their city. That is why an exhibition event titled 'A Day at the Drive' has been lined up for 29 and 30 January, after which the players will head to Melbourne.

Rafael Nadal is one of the six players announced for the exhibition so far. He will be accompanied by Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem on the men's side, and Simona Halep, Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams on the women's side.

Along with these players, the practice partners they choose would also have to quarantine in Adelaide.

The special quarantine for the top players has already caused some controversy among the players. Jeremy Chardy recently hinted at preferential treatment for those in the Adelaide bubble, and Novak Djokovic is reportedly not happy about the arrangement either.

But in an earlier interview, Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley had assured everyone that the players in Adelaide would be subject to the same quarantine rules as those in Melbourne.

Rafael Nadal and Marc Lopez won the gold medal in doubles at the 2016 Rio Olympics

Gold medalists Rafael Nadal and Marc Lopez at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
Gold medalists Rafael Nadal and Marc Lopez at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
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Marc Lopez is not only one of Rafael Nadal's closest friends on the tour, but he has also helped the World No. 2 achieve incredible success in doubles. The duo have won five titles together, including the Olympic doubles gold medal at the 2016 Rio Games.

Lopez is currently ranked No. 328 in doubles. He will be competing at the Australian Open in the men's doubles event with fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta, using his protected ranking.

While Lopez topped out at No. 106 in the ATP singles rankings, he has an excellent track record in doubles. The 38-year-old peaked at No. 3 in the doubles rankings in 2013, and won the 2016 French Open men's doubles event with countryman Feliciano Lopez.

Marc Lopez also won the 2012 ATP Finals, and reached the summit clash of the 2014 French Open and US Open with Marcel Granollers. He later finished as the runner-up at the 2017 US Open with Feliciano Lopez.

Published 12 Jan 2021, 21:24 IST
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