Rafa Nadal Academy initiative amid COVID-19


Rafael Nadal Academy Image: Rafael Nadal Academy

The Rafa Nadal Academy in Manocar, Spain, has offered itself up as a center of activity for Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Tour and Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour players to compete amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The Academy also added that televised matches could be staged.

The Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar has designed a training methodology based on the experience acquired after successful years in the professional circuit. The prestigious team of coaches, led by Toni Nadal (uncle and former coach of Rafael Nadal) himself, is the one in charge of training the young players and preparing them for the tennis of the future.

The Academy is named after Rafael ‘Rafa’ Nadal, a Spanish professional tennis player currently ranked world No 2 in men’s singles tennis by the ATP.

With the ATP and WTA suspending their tours until at least July 13, the two tennis organizations are currently weighing the pros and cons of their calendar options. Located in the town of Manacor on the island of Mallorca, the Rafa Nadal Academy has said it could provide a “safe environment” for players to train and compete over the next few months.

The proposal would see the Rafa Nadal Academy potentially become a campus where the pick of players can reside, train and compete between themselves in telecast matches.

Remarked Carlos Costa, Head of Business Development at the Rafa Nadal Academy, “In recent weeks, we have made our facilities available to the Chairman of ATP, Andrea Gaudenzi, with the goal of possibly making the Academy a center for the coming together of players so that they can train in an environment that is ideal for first-class competition.”

Costa added, “While the priority is obviously for a resumption of play for the regular Tour, the ATP is evaluating all options, keeping in mind health and safety as the top priority.”

The Academy is confident that its facilities are in a position to stage such an event, pointing to its successful hosting of the Rafa Nadal Open, an ATP Challenger Tour tournament, for the past two years.

Costa further stated, “At the Rafa Nadal Sports Centre, we have the capacity to host a significant number of players and coaches so that they can train and compete without having to leave the Academy. We have a large fitness center, a semi-Olympic swimming pool and a spa that would allow them to have a good preseason and to reach peak fitness. The size of the facilities would also allow, if necessary, the logistics to be organized to respect any sanitary and social-distancing protocols.”

Nadal, who is said to be the brainchild behind the initiative, added, “Right now tennis takes a back seat and the most important thing is everyone’s health, but if in the coming months the Academy can be used to help other professional players, I’d be delighted if they could come to train and also to compete. Although we have no upcoming tournaments, I think that competing among ourselves would help us maintain our game for when the tour restarts.”

Numero uno tennis player Novak Djokovic said he has held talks with Nadal and Roger Federer about working with the ATP to set up a fund to provide assistance to lower-ranked players who are facing financial problems during the pandemic.

Novak Djokovic is a Serbian professional tennis player who is currently ranked world No. 1 in men’s singles tennis by the ATP and Roger Federer is a Swiss professional tennis player who is ranked world No. 4 in men’s singles tennis by the ATP.

Djokovic described “a long conversation” with Federer and Nadal about “how we can contribute and how we can help lower-ranked guys who obviously are struggling the most”.

Djokovic also mentioned about attempting to secure between $3m (€2.8m) and $4.5m to distribute to players ranked from around 200th and 250th in the world down to about 700th, adding that a system would be worked out to find out players who are in immediate need of financial help.

Djokovic said the ATP and “most likely” the Grand Slam tournaments (major annual tennis events) would partake in it.

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