May 5, 2020 / 8:55 AM / in 22 days

Nadal pessimistic about return to action before 2021

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - ATP 500 - Mexican Open - Princess Acapulco Stadium, Acapulco, Mexico - February 29, 2020 Spain's Rafael Nadal reacts during his final match against Taylor Fritz of the U.S. REUTERS/Carlos Perez Gallardo/File Photo

MADRID (Reuters) - Rafael Nadal does not expect to return to play competitive tennis until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has decimated much of this year’s calendar.

“I hope we can return before the end of the year but unfortunately, I don’t think so,” the world number two told Spanish newspaper El Pais on Tuesday.

The pandemic has led to the cancellation of Wimbledon and the postponement of the French Open to September, while the status of the U.S. Open, scheduled to take place as usual in late August, is still unclear.

Nadal, however, said he had practically written off the remainder of the year and was looking to the Australian Open in January 2021 as the next tournament he will play.

“I would sign up to being ready for 2021,” the Spaniard added.

“I’m more worried about the Australian Open than what occurs at the end of this year. I think 2020 is practically lost. I hope we can start up again next year, I really hope that’s the case.”

Reporting by Richard Martin, editing by Ed Osmond

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