Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal announced that he had tested positive for the coronavirus in Spain on Monday after returning from an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi.
Nadal, former No. 1 and one of the greatest players in the sport’s long history, shares the men’s record with 20 Grand Slam singles titles. But because he missed most of the second half of the 2021 tennis season due to a chronic problem with his left foot, he played only 29 matches this season.
His positive test, announced on Monday, casts doubt on whether he will return to the circuit next month for the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam tournament of the year.
“I have had some unpleasant moments, but I’m slowly feeling better,” he said In a post on Twitter in Spanish on Monday. He added: “As a result of the situation, I have to maintain total flexibility with my schedule, and I will analyze my options based on how my situation develops.”
Nadal said he had a PCR test after returning to Spain from Abu Dhabi and is now confined to his home in Manecour, on the Spanish island of Majorca. He said he had informed everyone with whom he was in close contact about his test results, including his wife, his sister, his father, his physical therapist and two of his coaches, Carlos Moyu and Mark López. According to El Pais, a Spanish newspaper.
The list of close contacts probably also includes two of Nadal’s opponents at the Abu Dhabi Exhibition: Andy Murray and Denis Shapovalov, both of whom defeated Nadal.
Former Spain king Juan Carlos attended Nadal’s match with Murray on Friday and met with Nadal and Moyu on Saturday, according to Spanish newspaper El Mundo.
Nadal is the latest tennis star to contract the coronavirus. Number 1 Novak Djokovic tested positive for it in 2020. 2 Daniil Medvedev did so earlier this year, as did Aryna Sabalenka, No. 2 in the women’s singles rankings, and Coco Gauff, a rising American teenager who was already denied vaccinations. Time and forced to miss the Summer Olympics.
Unlike Djokovic, who has not disclosed his vaccination status, Nadal has been an advocate for vaccination and said he would follow through on the upcoming Australian Open ruling that players would need to be vaccinated.
“If the people who actually know that we need to be vaccinated, who am I to make a difference?” He said last week in Abu Dhabi.
Nadal, ranked 6th after his brief 2021 season, had to withdraw from Wimbledon, the Summer Olympics and the United States Open this year due to Muller-Weiss syndrome, a congenital foot condition that first troubled him in his teens, But what they have long been able to manage with custom insoles and therapy.