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After being able to return to his everyday activities Toni Nadal, the Director of the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar, has evaluated the return to training after Mallorca entered Phase 1 last week. He also talked about the confinement in the Academy and urged all athletes to comply with the protocols and measures adopted by the health authorities.

 

Toni: “I'm going to take the mask off so I can speak…”

Question: Where were you when the State of Emergency was declared?                  

T: I was at the Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre in Mexico. There, we found out that they were going to declare a State of Emergency, that they were going to close borders and we had to return a little earlier than we had planned. I was a long way from home and when such an unusual situation like this one occurs you prefer to be at home with your loved ones.

Q. As the Director of the Rafa Nadal Academy, what decisions have you contributed during the pandemic?

T. The kids were in an unusual situation but from the Academy I think a decision was made that was very good for everyone, which was to confine the coaches and people that wanted to stay on site to preserve the children's health. The management at the Academy were very careful that the children couldn’t be infected and that precaution was the reason I was asked not to confine myself there, as I had been travelling in the previous weeks to Madrid, Valencia and Mexico. I think everything went very well.

                                             

Q. How has the return to training been?

T. It's true that the tennis world is in an extraordinary situation with no tournaments, where the kids cannot go to play in the ITF events and the professionals cannot play on their tours. Nobody can play, but we can train. We do have to train under the protocols established by the government and the Ministry of Health; they are being strictly complied with and at the moment I'm very excited to get back on court and keen to improve. As I believe that the most important thing in life is being well prepared, this is an opportunity. It's true that we won't be able to compete for a few months, but the reality is that we can make use of the time. You can always try to improve and this is the phase we are in; one where you can try to improve various aspects of the game where individual players may not be that good. So, when we can go back to competing, we will be as ready as possible. I think the children have a good understanding, and the coaches and everyone are approaching it with passion, which is the most important thing in life.

 

Q. How are you finding coaching with a mask?

T. Of course, it's more comfortable without a mask, but to me, at my age, I'm concerned about my health and, above all, I'm concerned about not infecting the children. If I'm told I should wear a mask, I wear a mask. It is what it is and it's what I have to do. Now, when I've finished talking to you, don't worry, I'll put it back on again. In the end, you get used to it... We know it's a strange situation and that for a few months we'll have to wear it and hopefully everyone will comply strictly because that will mean there will be less chance of contagion and we'll be out of this difficult situation sooner.

 

Q. On a personal level, how have you coped with these two months?

T. With the same unease the virus has caused us all. At first, both the death and infection rates were really worrying and you were scared that you might get it. On the one hand, you were worried about that and, on the other, with isolation at home. Personally, I would really have liked to be confined at the Academy, but because I had been travelling the decision was made as a precaution for me to go home. At home, I've been making use of the time to do different things or those that you sometimes don't do as much. Being with family more, watching a series together, some documentary, reading a little more, playing chess... In the end we can be grateful that we have not caught it, so it's been fine.

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