ROME – Rafael Nadal is preparing to return to tennis after a seven-month layoff at next week’s Italian Open.
Nadal, who has won the Rome tournament a record nine times, said in a video message: “Foro Italico has always been a special place for me and more so this year because it will be my first tournament if I don’t play for a long time.” Performed in the presentation of the program on Tuesday.
Concerned about the coronavirus epidemic, Nadal chose not to travel to New York for the ongoing US Open. He last played in February, when he won a tournament in Acapulco, Mexico.
The September 14-21 Italian Open, which was postponed from its usual slot in May, will be Nadal’s main preparation for the French Open later this month.
Top-seeded Novak Djokovic has also entered the US Open.
In all, 19 of the top 20 male players have entered, with only No. 4 Roger Federer missing due to injury.
Four-time champion Serena Williams has clinched the title on a women’s field with nine players in the top ten – the only big name missing with top Ash Barty.
When Bertie announced early Tuesday that he would not be traveling to Europe for either the Italian or French Open, he mentioned the potential health risks associated with the Covid-19.
No fans will be allowed to watch the match inside Foro Italico and a “bubble” similar to that of the US Open players will be installed. There will be frequent virus tests for players, coaches and others working in the tournament.
Players traveling from New York and other regions will not be subject to the 14-day quarantine rule for ordinary passengers – unless they test positive for the Covid-19.
Prize money without ticket sales is down 40% from last year’s tournament.
The president of the Italian Tennis Federation, Angelo Binagi, said: “Our federation has suffered a lot.
Binaghi had recently expressed hope that the regional Lazio government would allow a limited number of spectators to the tournament.
“It could have made more sense to cancel the tournament,” Binaghi said.
Binagi added that he hopes the ATP Tour will approve a new tournament in Sardinia in October – just for this year.