Rafael Nadal is back on the court after his injury and makes his debut on clay. Due to a stress fracture to his ribs in the Indian Wells semi-final, the Spanish champion decided to stop for two months, thus skipping the start of the European clay season.
To make his comeback, the winner of twenty-one Grand Slam titles has chosen the Mutua Madrid Open. In the press conference that anticipated the debut match (with the winner between Kecmanovic and Bublik), Nadal could not avoid the theme of the last few weeks: the exclusion of Russian and Belarusian tennis players from the Wimbledon tournament.
After weeks of silence, the number four in the world decided to give his opinion on this choice by the organizers of the English Slam: “It seems very unfair towards the players, my colleagues.”
Rafael Nadal: “Wimbledon? Unfair to my colleagues, but…”
Nadal then added: “There is little they can do. I don’t know what their fault is in what’s going on right now with the war. I am very sorry for them and I wish it were not so. When the government takes measures, you have to follow them. In this case, the government gives a recommendation and Wimbledon makes its decision, the most drastic possible. It’s a very unfair thing for them, but what happens in our sport practically doesn’t matter when there are so many people dying and suffering.”
Another difficult issue to deal with is that of penalties for tennis players, who on the court give rise to more and more unsportsmanlike behavior. “Times and personalities change, but there are limits that cannot be overcome. To jeopardize the health of line judges or ball boys is crossing a line that is too critical,” said Rafa Nadal, who refers in particular to Zverev’s gesture in Acapulco.
He added: “In this sense, I believe it is true that the sanctions were few and severe in the first three or four situations of the year. A few weeks ago a private letter was sent to the players in which it was warned that from now on, extreme behavior would be penalized more drastically. I understand the frustrations, but the players will think about it more.”