Rafael Nadal insists the tennis season must continue and called for the sport to “find solutions” to the issues surrounding quarantining.
Novak Djokovic on Tuesday claimed a majority of tennis players do not want to carry on with the season if it means going through multiple periods of quarantine due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The world number one is one of a host of players to have experienced physical problems following the 14-day period of isolation prior to the Australian Open.
The world's best tennis players are arriving, ready to fight for the first Grand Slam title of 2021. Before the battle can begin they must quarantine for 14 days, take daily COVID-19 tests, physically distance, and practice & train under strictly controlled COVIDSafe conditions. pic.twitter.com/XrJDmc9vCi
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 15, 2021
Many European countries now have significant restrictions on travel and Djokovic, who set up a separate player body to the ATP last year, called for urgent discussions.
But speaking after his five-set defeat to Stefanos Tsitsipas, Nadal said: “He’s completely right that for our sport things are difficult because governments are changing the rules constantly.
“So it’s difficult to make predictions about how the things are going to happen.
“But there is a very clear thing. There are two options. Stop the tour or keep going.
“My personal feeling is it’s tough for the players, of course, to have to do bubbles in every single event, flying just plus two, a lot of players have family and they cannot have the family with them, so that makes our tour probably tougher than ever, no?
“But on the other hand, if we stop the tour, why and how and when will we be able to come back? And a lot of jobs are going to suffer a lot.
“I mean, not only players. A lot of people are living from our sport, no? If we stop our sport again, a lot of people are going to suffer.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 17, 2021
“We need to think a little bit bigger. And of course we need to protect players.
“Probably we need to find a way to protect the players with the rankings, to not force them to keep playing because the situation is very tough for a lot of players depending on the countries.
“But that’s it. We need to find solutions and we need to adapt to these very tough times that we are facing. Not only us, the world.
“We are here to find solutions. I mean, and we need to be grateful to life that we can keep doing what we are doing.”