Due to the serious healthcare crisis caused by the COVID-19 virus, on Friday the 13th of March, the imminent start of the “State of Alarm” in Spain was announced, an exceptional measure which obligated the whole nation to remain in their own homes to slow the spread of the virus.


This complex situation, forced the Management of the Academy to react quickly, and although some protective measures had been adopted the previous week, families were quickly contacted to facilitate the repatriation of all children who were able to return to their countries of origin. However, the return of many of them to their homes became a complex matter. Firstly, air traffic with some countries began to be restricted, and secondly, many families did not feel that their children were safe having to travel through airports and on aeroplanes, which are especially sensitive with regard to transmission of the virus. In some cases, the parents of players were considered to be at risk due to their age or health conditions, and did not wish to risk their children’s health by forcing them to return home.


The combination of all these factors led the management of the Academy to proceed to inform the competent authorities, offering them an emergency solution: confining the young people under security measures which guaranteed their wellbeing due them being unable to return home. After receiving the appropriate authorisation, numerous volunteers took charge of a confinement which, a priori, was to last 15 days. Rafa Nadal himself explained the situation with an open letter:


As you know, the Academy has very specific circumstances, as throughout the year young players of 42 different nationalities reside here. For various family and logistical reasons, many of them have stayed here and it is our duty and responsibility to look after them and that is what I have told their parents. It the last few hours we have been in contact with the Superior Sports Council and the Balearic Islands’ Regional Ministry of Health in order to adopt appropriate measures that are in line with the current law. The outcome of these conversations has allowed some coaches and support, kitchen and cleaning staff who have all volunteered, to confine themselves within the facilities in order to be able to look after these players who must stay at the Academy during this time. On Saturday, the Academy, the adult residences, the gym, the museum, the shop and the restaurant closed to the public, so that the players and volunteer staff who are now confined to the premises are the only people on site. Nobody from outside can enter and thus we are able to try and avoid any possible infection from the outside.


Rafa concluded the letter by sending a message to reassure the families of the confined children: “I would like to take this opportunity to put parents’ minds at ease and to tell you all that your children are being very well looked after by a great team that is giving their all every single minute to take care of their health. I know you want to be with your children and we hope that that moment will arrive soon.


In this way, 85 young tennis players (residing at the Academy) and 70 employees (who are living in the rooms of the Rafa Nadal Sports Centre) were confined in the complex, subject to stringent protocols and sanitary hygiene measures in all areas, and without any of them being able to leave.


Each day, all confined individuals had to have their temperature taken in the morning and at night to guarantee the absence of symptoms of fever. Additionally, additional cleaning was carried out in communal areas and water-alcohol gel dispensers and gloves were placed at numerous points of the facility. Young people and adults were informed of the importance of social distancing, especially in communal areas such as the dining room, where tables were set up with specific signage allowing the appropriate distance between diners to be distinguished.


Although the complex situation could have caused a gloomy atmosphere among the young people, the feeling of unity and a spirit of overcoming challenges led to an optimistic atmosphere, despite the difficulties. In the mornings, the players had the opportunity to continue with their academic course thanks to the teachers of the Rafa Nadal International School continuing to give classes each day in online format. The students attended these classes from their own rooms, where they carried out the work assigned and studied for exams.


In this regard, Rafa expressly addressed the students, encouraging them to continue studying and to persevere in this effort. He also took the opportunity to thank the teachers for their invaluable work: “I want to congratulate you, because I know that you are doing everything required right now, I know you are following teachers’ and adults’ instructions. You know the importance of studying and education, and it is very important that we ensure the year is not lost, instead completing the academic year in the best way possible within the exceptional situation. Finally, I also want to thank the teachers for their great professionalism in this difficult time, in which we are in an uncertain situation, but which at the same time allows us to learn from our experiences each day. Thank you for your professionalism, your willingness to help these kids with everything they need to follow the programme from home.



After lunch, the coaches of the Academy prepared the theoretical and practical classes in which players were able to continue improving their technique and their tactics through activities carried out in large indoor rooms set up for this purpose. Additionally, the physical trainers of the Academy held sessions to ensure that the physical performance of the young people was not reduced during the quarantine. The rest of the time was used for training on aspects related with values, the history of tennis, viewing documentaries and other teaching and educational activities which were combined with others more focused on leisure.


Furthermore, players had the opportunity to enjoy long online chats with Rafa Nadal and Carlos Moyá, who in addition to taking an interest in their health and encouraging them, were always available to answer any questions and concerns posed by the young people.


After 57 days of confinement, during which no cases of Coronavirus were detected within the facilities, Mallorca began the de-escalation, which allowed the adult volunteers to leave confinement and return to their homes after 8 weeks away from their loved ones.


Supervision of the protocol by QuirónSalud, healthcare partner of the Academy, facilitated the implementation of all measures and ultimately guaranteed the absence of cases during the confinement of over two months, also establishing the new processes allowing the coaches and personnel to be able to return to their work posts to continue attending to the players.


Since Mallorca entered Phase 1 on the 11th of May, all players of the Academy were able to return to the courts with measures stipulated by the Superior Sports Council and the Royal Spanish Tennis Federation.


From the 25th of May, when Mallorca entered Phase 2 of the de-escalation, group training was resumed, maintaining the safe distance, without physical contact and following the rest of the obligatory hygiene measures.



After 70 days of strict confinement within the facilities, players of the Academy were able to leave for the first time on Saturday the 23rd of May to carry out outdoor activities organised by the Council of Mallorca within the “Sport for everyone” programme, which included hiking, Nordic walking, mountain biking, canoeing and paddle surfing in groups of 10 and with monitors in charge of guaranteeing compliance with the preventive healthcare measures at all times.


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With the progressive return to normality, Rafa Nadal showed his happiness about having returned to the courts, being doubly happy to see players of the Academy training each day.



After having guaranteed the health and wellbeing of its players, the Academy is now preparing to receive all young people and adults from around the world, who will once again enjoy state of the art facilities during the Summer Camp while on an unforgettable holiday in Mallorca, a safe, idyllic island which is ready to continue charming the world. “Come to Mallorca. Train safely.”

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