Pressing work duties at the Paris Bercy Masters 1000 means that Rafael Nadal is free to fly to France on Thursday to prepare for the last event of the regular ATP season.
The Spaniard’s home village of Manacor in the island of Mallorca went into more serious COVID-19 lockdown on Wednesday due to an alarming rise in infections.
But three days after finishing sixth in a local professional golf event, the world No. 2 will find himself in Paris working to close the ranking gap on rival Novak Djokovic.
Included on the list of exceptions from quarantine is work, for which Nadal’s business on court more than qualifies.
Once in Paris, he will enter a quasi-player bubble at a five-star hotel in the east of the city near to the indoor tournament site. Arrival means a virus test followed by player confinement in hotel rooms except for matches and limited training.
Since Roland Garros – where the 34-year-old lifted a record 13th title to bring his Grand Slam total level on 20 with Roger Federer – ended nearly three weeks ago, the COVID situation for France in general and Paris in particular has gotten much more serious.
Nadal, who has never won at Bercy, should be able to train starting on Friday to prepare for the Monday tournament start.
Paris will be followed by the eight-man year-end Finals in London, to be played without crowds at the O2 arena.
Nadal will head the Paris field after Djokovic pulled out and is instead competing in Vienna this week; the Spaniard will start play at mid-week after a first-round bye.