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Federer thinks return of tennis is a ‘long way off’

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Roger Federer thinks the professional tennis circuit won’t return for a while due to the coronavirus pandemic but, when the time does come, the Swiss superstar said he would find it difficult to play without fans.

While European football’s Bundesliga resurfaced last week behind closed doors and Spain’s La Liga is set to resume the middle of next month, the last official word from tennis authorities essentially saw all action suspended through July.

The hiatus began in March, with Federer already sidelined since he was recuperating from knee surgery.
Sunday would have marked the first day of the French Open in its usual spot on the tennis calendar — in March, though, it was rescheduled for September — and another grand slam, Wimbledon in July, was called off.

“I’m not training at the moment because I don’t see a reason for that to be honest,” Federer told three-time French Open champion Gustavo Kuerten — who is raising funds for coronavirus relief efforts in his native Brazil — in a video interview reported by Tennis.com.

“I am happy with my body now and I still believe that the return of the tour is a long way off,” continued the 38-year-old. “And I think it’s important mentally to enjoy this break, having played so much tennis.
“When I’m getting towards returning and have a goal to train for, I think I will be super motivated.”

We should be sliding into @rolandgarros right now, thinking of our mates in Paris 👋 pic.twitter.com/0PLKryyIjj

— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) May 24, 2020

Federer is arguably tennis’ best supported player ever, and the prospect of competing without spectators doesn’t appeal to him.

“Most of the time when we are training, there is no one,” said the men’s record 20-time grand slam champion. “For us, of course, it is possible to play if there are no fans. But on the other hand, I really hope that the circuit can return as it normally is.

“And hold off till the time is appropriate, minimum a third of the stadium or half full. But, for me, completely empty when playing big tournaments is very difficult.”

Federer has been active on social media during the lockdown, sparking a public discussion on the merging of the men’s and women’s tours with a tweet last month and embarking on a funny Instagram Live with tennis rival Rafael Nadal.
Nadal, unlike Federer, has started practicing, though only very recently. The Spaniard would have been favored to win a 20th major and tie Federer had the French Open been played as usual given he has collected a record 12 titles at Roland Garros.
Here I am, the first pictures I am posting for you on court.
This is my practice earlier today at @rnadalacademy #BackOnCourt #BabolatFamily 🎾👍🏻💪🏻😉 pic.twitter.com/x7tzgLj9pc

— Rafa Nadal (@RafaelNadal) May 22, 2020
The next grand slam is scheduled to be late August’s US Open in New York, with organizers expected to announce in June if it will go ahead.

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“Good Person”: Rafael Nadal Opens up on His Relationship With Rival Novak Djokovic

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Many tennis fans wonder how Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic get along outside the tennis court. Their conduct towards each other on the tennis court is always respectful, and that translates outside the court as well, as admitted by Nadal. The Spaniard spoke about his relationship with Djokovic, whom he called a good person.

“I have a good relationship with him. Is a good person. We must relativize things between us,”  Nadal said, in a recent interview, throwing light on his camaraderie with Djokovic.

There was also speculation among fans as to what Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic spoke about at the end of their French Open 2020 final. Interestingly, it was one of the most one-sided battles they have played over the years. However, Nadal said that Djokovic, with whom he shares a strong relationship, simply congratulated him and nothing more.

Rafael Nadal understands why Novak Djokovic did not say much

I could not talk to him. He congratulated me on the track and that’s it. It is normal,” Nadal said. He said he understands that Djokovic was not in a mood to talk, as no one usually is, after a heartbreaking loss.

When you lose a game like that, you don’t really want to talk. I understand it,” Nadal added.

Nadal avenged his one-sided loss in the 2019 Australian Open final against Djokovic. The two men also shared a respectful exchange during the trophy ceremony post their match. Nadal lauded Djokovic and said he hopes to keep facing him, further adding to their already great rivalry.

What you’re doing in tennis is very very special. Hope to keep facing you [Djokovic] on the court for the next couple of years,” Nadal said to Djokovic.

The mutual respect between the two stars

Despite not having a conversation with Nadal after the match, Djokovic spoke highly of Nadal in his post-match presser. Djokovic highlighted why Nadal is a great champion. He also admitted that it was one of those days where Nadal was simply the better player and there was not much he could do to tame the ‘King of Clay’.

I was also thinking that these conditions are more favorable to me. I was feeling great throughout the tournament playing. […] But, yeah, I mean, Rafa has proven everybody wrong. That’s why he’s a great champion. He just played a fantastic match today,” he said.

The two champions are expected to resume their rivalry at the ATP Finals next month. While they will not face each other in the Round Robin stage, the anticipation of another Nadal-Djokovic final is already running high.

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