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"We are all rowing in the same direction" - Rafael Nadal calls for unity amid disjointed 2020 season

Rafael Nadal at the Rolex Paris Masters 2020
Rafael Nadal at the Rolex Paris Masters 2020
Namit Kumar
ANALYST
Modified 06 Nov 2020, 18:14 IST
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Tennis has suffered many setbacks during the COVID-19 pandemic. The tournaments have had no fans, the players have had to live in biosecure bubbles, and there has been a general dip in earnings across the board. Against that background, Rafael Nadal recently expressed the need for the tennis world to be united.

In a press conference following his third-round victory over Jordan Thompson at the Paris Masters, the Spaniard spoke of a mutual understanding between players and tournaments during this unique time.

Players Council has tried to find the best solutions: Rafael Nadal on prize money deductions in 2020

Rafael Nadal at the 2020 French Open
Rafael Nadal at the 2020 French Open

The brutal reduction in prize money has led to large-scale financial struggles for tennis players. Those outside the top 50 have been particularly affected, as they are dependent on tournament appearances outside the Grand Slams and Masters.

Rafael Nadal, however, insisted that the players understand the situation and are working towards common goals.

"The atmosphere between the players is good," said the 34-year-old. "We are all very aware of the problems and in the Players Council we have tried to find the best solutions. Six hours ago we had a meeting. We are aware that tournament promoters must also survive."
"If tournaments don't do business there is no circuit. We are all rowing in the same direction. It is a very unique year," the 34-year-old added.

Nadal's assurances come during a time when the men's tour seems at its most disjointed since the formation of the ATP. Novak Djokovic and Vasek Pospisil recently resigned from their positions on the ATP Players' Council to form their own players association known as the PTPA.

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The move was supported by several men's tennis players across the rankings spectrum, but has also garnered scrutiny from renowned personalities and players in the game. Both Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer condemned the move at the time, and instead asked for unity among the tennis association.

Rafael Nadal rejoined the ATP Players' Council in August 2019 alongside Federer, on the ground that it could be better for the sport. And both of them have been vocal about their concerns regarding a separate players union, claiming 'we have a bigger problem and separation and disunion is definitely not the solution.'

At the moment, Rafael Nadal has his sights set on a first title at the Paris Masters, where he faces compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta in the quarterfinal on Friday. However, his role in the council and his opposition to the PTPA could play a crucial role in the future of the men's tour, which is heading into another uncertain 2021 season.

Published 06 Nov 2020, 18:14 IST
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