Rafael Nadal believes that he and his fellow tennis elites will all be starting an uncertain 2021 season from a competitive dead heat after a virus-diminished 2020 campaign.
According to Spain’s world No. 2, not much changed in the top-heavy balance of tennis power on the ATP as COVID-19 forced a five-month pause in Tour tennis followed by a rump season in which some weaker tournaments were cancelled.
The 34-year-old Spanaird went about his career-long business on clay as usual, picking up a 13th Roland Garros title – even if the French Open was played in October instead of its usual spring.
With Roger Federer out rehabbing after a pair of knee procedures, No. 1 Novak Djokovic held onto the top spot with the Australian Open title an several Masters 1000 honours while US Open winner Dominic Thiem made a move towards the top with his first Grand Slam title.
“I don’t think the lockdown helped anyone – it only tried to stop the virus from spreading,” Nadal told Spain’s Celebrity Magazine.
“No one in the tennis world was helped, it was very difficult because we had to prepare for the unknown.”
Nadal added: “I had a clear goal (Paris), we worked properly, avoided injuries and did what I needed. It certainly doesn’t help me personally if my body stands still for a long time.
“I had to do a lot of work before the tournaments to get my physical condition back, but also my tennis.”
The 20-time Grand Slam winner said that focusing on charity work amid the pandemic helped to keep him sane while competitive tennis was on hold.
His projects included fundraising for those affected economically by COVID in Spain
“I spent my time helping people in need. I would otherwise have had no time for the campaign that I ran together with Pau Gasol and the Spanish Red Cross.
“We were very happy with the success and the amount of money (EUR 14 million) that we collected. ”