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Rafael Nadal gives support to French Open after scheduling coup

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Rafael Nadal

French Tennis Federation (FFT) president Bernard Giudicelli has claimed Rafael Nadal has backed their decision to hold Roland Garros in September in light of the global coronavirus pandemic.

On Tuesday, the FFT announced they were moving the clay-court Grand Slam to September 20-October 4 due to fears it would not take place in its usual date in May due to the virus.

And as it stands, the tournament will take place just a week after the US Open men’s singles final in New York.

Nadal is the defending champion at both events with his Roland Garros being his most dominant tournament.

The Spaniard has won in Paris an astonishing 12 times and is the favourite to claim a record-extending 13th title.

Rafael Nadal Jubilated

The announcement by the FFT was met with uproar as several players revealed they had no idea such a decision had been made.

But according to Giudicelli, Nadal was among the few players tournament director Guy Forget was able to contact.

“What was important for us was the permanence of the tournament, to ensure the presence of our clay court,” he said.

“We would not have accepted that we sweep the clay of the international calendar.

“We find ourselves in a period when it is the Indian summer, these are pleasant temperatures. We sincerely think that it can give a beautiful event.

“We had Rafa on the phone [and] we tried to reach other players.

Rafael Nadal

“It was Guy [Forget] who got Rafa. His feeling is that it is a good decision that keeps clay on the calendar.”

The French Open’s decision means it will be played at the same time as the popular Laver Cup, founded by Roger Federer.

The exhibition is due to be played from September 25-27 in Boston and the organisers insist it will still go ahead.

“The tennis world learned today that the French Tennis Federation intends to schedule Roland Garros from September 20 – October 4, 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19,” the statement said.

Rafael Nadal and Toni Nadal

“This announcement came as a surprise to us and our partners – Tennis Australia, the USTA and the ATP. It raises many questions and we are assessing the situation.

“At this time, we want our fans, sponsors, broadcasters, staff, volunteers, players and the great city of Boston to know that we intend to hold Laver Cup 2020 as currently scheduled.”

Rafael Nadal releases letter ensuring safety of children at his Academy
Rafael Nadal walking

The Rafa Nadal Academy does not close its doors during this delicate moment due to the Coronavirus. Some of the boys who train at the Spanish facility have not returned to their countries of origin and will no longer be able to do so because of the health emergency.

Rafael wanted to send a message to the parents reassuring them about the situation. Here’s the full text of Rafael Nadal’s open letter: “Hello all, I hope you are well in these complicated times. As you know, the circumstances at the Academy are very particular as throughout the year young players of 42 different nationalities reside here.

Rafael Nadal and coach

For various family and logistical reasons, many of them have stayed here and it is our duty and responsibility to look after them and that is what I have told their parents. It the last few hours we have been in contact with the Superior Sports Council and the Balearic Islands’ Regional Ministry of Health in order to adopt the suitable measures that are in line with the current law.

The outcome of these conversations has allowed some coaching and support staff, as well as cleaning personnel, who have all volunteered, to confine themselves within the facilities in order to be able to look after these players who have to stay at the Academy during this time.

Rafael nadal and Oppo

On Saturday, the Academy closed to the public, the adult residencies, the gym, the museum, the shop and the restaurant, such that the players and volunteer staff who are now confined to the premises are the only people on site. Nobody from outside can enter and thus we are able to try and avoid any possible infection from the outside.”

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