Rafa Roundup: Nadal’s first practice session in Australia

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 26: Rafael Nadal of Spain smiles during a practice session on day seven of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 26, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Wayne Taylor/Getty Images)


A plane full of Australian Open tennis players and staff has been forced into strict quarantine after two people on-board tested positive for coronavirus, a leaked email has revealed. The flight from Los Angeles landed in Melbourne early yesterday morning and tests were conducted soon afterwards.There were 79 people on the flight, including 67 passengers. Of those passengers, 24 are players.COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria later confirmed the infected people were a flight crew member and a Australian Open participant who is not a player. Now nobody aboard that flight will be allowed to leave their rooms for the whole two weeks.

Venrdrell asserted that Rafael Nadal pushes his practice partners to their absolute limit. He also pointed out that the Spaniard’s competitive streak is evident even in his training sessions.

“(With) Rafael Nadal, the margins of error do not exist, if you make a little mistake he takes advantage of it very well,” Vendrell added. “It takes a lot of intensity, start each point aggressively, even if you hit hard and you know well that you can reach the defensive phase because he counterattacks… he raises the physical, tennis, mental and tactical levels. It is like a centrifuge. He takes you out of your comfort zone, removes everything from within and demands a lot from you.”

“Rafael Nadal is also good at doing the best of the three, both physically and mentally,” Ferrero added. The trio of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic has dominated tennis tours for the past decade and a half, winning a total of 57 Grand Slam titles among them. They have also won the last 13 major titles in a spectacular way, suggesting that they won’t go away anytime soon.


Australian Open preparations are in disarray with a planeload of tennis stars forced into hard lockdown after sharing a chartered flight from LA with two COVID cases. So far, players quarantining in Adelaide have tested negative allowing them to hit the court and even mingle with fans from a distance.


  1. Here’s what Rafa had to say in November about the possible cancellation of the AO.

    “We need to wait about what the government there in Victoria says. We can’t do much from ATP position or just wait.

    “We [are] nobody to say what they feel is better for [their] country, no? We just need to be patient and accept the situation that we are facing.”

    Australia has an estimated population of 25.7 million and out of those millions Australia has on record 909 deaths from COVID-19; astounding considering the higher mortality rate of other countries with far less populations.

    Rafa does come up with gems. These words speak to his wisdom and humility.

  2. DjoKovid is getting backlash for “requests.”

    “Nick Kyrgios has joined the former Davis Cup player Sam Groth in criticising Novak Djokovic after the world No 1 reportedly wrote to Australian Open organisers asking them to ease quarantine restrictions for players.“

    “The Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, said tennis players stuck in isolation in their Melbourne hotel rooms would not be given any special treatment, following questions on Djokovic’s reported demands. Andrews told local media at a press conference: “People are free to provide a list of demands. But the answer is no … There’s no special treatment here.”

    “Is he serious ” [Groth] wrote in his column for the Herald Sun. “What did he think would happen? That (Victoria’s Premier) Dan Andrews would say ‘sure Novak anything you want’? Spare me.”

    ND just can’t help himself. He continues to alienate.


    “Eight hundred consecutive weeks. That’s how long Rafael Nadal has been living inside the Top 10 of the FedEx ATP Rankings. His run has spanned more than 15 years and counting: 5,600 days. 134,400 hours.

    The Mallorcan’s streak has already lasted longer than the Napoleonic Wars or World War I, World War II, and the American Civil War combined. By the time he’s done, look out Thirty Years’ War.”

    The Spaniard has spent 71% of the streak (570 weeks) in the Top 2

  4. I’m not trying to have a go at anyone, but I don’t think Novak is really helping by demanding that players be given better food and equipment, and apparently even suggesting that they should all be moved to private houses with tennis courts … are there 72 private houses with tennis courts in the Melbourne area, all lying empty?! Australia’s been under very strict measures. I’ve got a friend in Australia who’s desperate to be allowed to come to England to visit as her dad is in ill health, but can’t get permission to leave the country and return. It really doesn’t look good to have tennis players making all these demands.

    • Setinthepast, i agree. The first time i heard about Novak’s letter to Craig Tiley with a list of demands for the players in Melbourne, I though it was unreasonable and smacked of entitlement, given the circumstances with covid. The only thing from the list that I thought players should be given is some training equipment and i believe that has been supplied.

      Craig Tiley and the Australian authorites are doing the best they can to make the AO possible and successful. As Pam Shiver said, “…it’s been clear that it is out of Tennis Australia’s hands, the health policies, ….literally this team at Tennis Australia has tried to think of every possible scenario to mitigate the risks and now they have to try and mitigate the unfairness.”

      It certainly is a fine balancing act, between providing adequate conditions for players and not making the public feel that the AO is the be all and end all. With that said, the priority is the safety of the wider public and preventing “community spread” and there is no way the authorities will compromise that.

  5. An emergency tennis podcast has just been posted, which dicusses the AO and the latest on the whole quarantine issue and its implications. Well worth listening to.

  6. A 4th flight which arrived yesterday from Doha has yielded a pos.test result. 25 more players have entered hard lockdown today.

  7. I don’t think anyone had really anticipated this problem with people on the flights testing positive. I’m assuming that all the players, coaches etc had to be tested before taking the flights, which is why Andy Murray and Madison Keys didn’t travel. So they would have expected that everyone would test negative again after arrival, and that they’d then be able to leave their rooms to practise. But those concerned tested negative before the flight and positive afterwards: Bianca Andreescu’s coach has said that this happened to him. Also, there seems to have been some lack of clarity over everyone who was on the flight having to self-isolate, rather than only the people who were sitting near the person in question.

    So now some players are going to be heading into a strenuous two-week, best-of-five-set (for the men) tournament, probably in intense heat, with very little physical preparation. It’s no-one’s fault, but it is difficult.

  8. How about… Tennis Australia is paying for a standard of Hotel Quarantine… accommodation, food and facilities… gym equipment ! way above what the average Australian returning from overseas receives… mmm and Aussies are charged for it. I’m absolutely passionate about tennis… but seriously… Australia has an enviable Health Record in these times of Covid-19… and the fact Tennis Australia has managed the massive effort of getting government permission AND PAYING FOR THIS… NOT the Players or Taxpayers… the rules change because Covid-19 is changing… they should be grateful they’re all getting a pay cheque… even if it might be their only one this year…. lots of people around the world still haven’t got their job or pay check because of Covid-19. Maybe other people / players can embrace Rafa’s respect & humility… in this situation… and always.

    • Stvine66, you’ve raised some very valid points. Tennis Australia should be congratulated for their effort to navigate their way through this huge logistical nightmare to try and get the tennis show on the road. Most tennis players (and fans) will be grateful that Australia is hosting tennis at all and who knows what tennis will go ahead for the rest of the year. However, I do feel that certain concerns need to be addressed.

      Fairness is the foundation of any sport and competition needs to start from a level playing field, which isn’t the case in Australia as far as the facilities are concerned. Most sports people will say that they enter a competition to perform at their very best and believe they are capable of winning, otherwise they wouldn’t enter. With that said, it is glaringly obvious that the players in Adelaide have a head start and those in Melbourne feel handicapped.

      There is already underlying resentment from some of the lower ranked players concerning the privilege that the elite players have and the whole issue of the inequitable facilities in Melbourne compared Adelaide, just serves to magnify it. Surely a minimum level of training equipment for all players isn’t too much to ask for. Afterall, everyone concerned is in it for something.

  9. Holger Rune, the 17 yr. old Dane, will play the final in the ITF tournament tomorrow at the RNA. He’s the one who claims that next year he will crack the top 100 and then make it all the way to the top in two years.

    Most famously he has stated that he will surpass Rafa’s winning record at Roland Garros. He certainly isn’t lacking in confidence. Ambition is a powerful driver but cockiness is not attractive. Personally I’m cheering for his opponent to knock his ego down a peg.

    • 😯 What a cocky youngster……crack the top 100 next year, and then make it to the top in two years 🤔 but surpass Rafa’s RG winning record 🙄😶

      • Mimi, he might be wise to practice some humility a la Rafa. Although with Rafa it is ingrained and genuine. It’s never a straight line up the rankings. Many prospects we’ve seen ended up just being a flash in the pan.

        Even if he eventually becomes a star we don’t need that attitude.

        Rafa’s 13 titles and counting at R.G. are probably as unbeatable a record as exists.

  10. Rafa stay safe I’m ready to see you playing tennis this last year it was so bed with the pandemic good luck vamosssssss champ we love you since 2005 all the love your fans for ever 🎾👍😘❤️🙏

  11. Rafa has a new brand, the Rafa Nadal Club.

    “Rafael Nadal is looking to expand his business through the Rafa Nadal ‘Club’, a mix of his academy and training centre.

    The new format is targeted at some of the main cities in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

    The first Rafa Nadal Club is already operational [this past February] in Kuwait, where Rafael Nadal is working with a local partner, Tandeem Group. This is the first international training facility by Nadal, with a residential academy set to be built in the second phase.“

    Rafa’s retirement plans? He will have more than enough to keep busy. A viable global brand is incredible. Best of luck to Rafa.

  12. Compliance with quarantine by all is necessary. COVID variant spreads like wildfire. Stay healthy-all
    the best👏👍💪🤛🎾❤️

  13. Seems that the Adelaide group dodged a bullet as per reports. F. Krajinovic’s fitness coach tested pos.on arrival. He had just recovered from Covid last month so a blood test was taken which detected antibodies. Therefore he was deemed non contagious and all players were cleared to practice. Phew.

    Looked at photos from the Majestic M hotel and the suites are very well equipped with full kitchens, washer/dryer, balconies etc. It should be quite comfortable for the two week stay.

    In Melbourne the players are in regular hotel rooms which will make their confinement less pleasant.

    • This is do unfair to players in Melbourne. More and more players are posting on Twitter they had no clue those rules would be and if they new it they would never go Down Under. Also, some players were without masks on those planes and didn’t follow the rules.

      • She claims that players were given the details of the rules before arriving at Australia but were given a different set of rules once they arrived. If true, that’s pretty underhanded.

        The story circulating among players is that the highest ranked players make the most money for the AO and that’s why they are being treated so well.

Leave a Reply