SI Insider: Rafa Nadal Seems to Be Reluctant to Resume Competition During the Pandemic

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A few of tennis' top stars have not fully committed to resuming competition amidst the coronavirus pandemic, notably Rafa Nadal who is one major win behind Roger Federer to tie the record for major wins. SI's Jon Wertheim shares more on Nadal and his reticence to resume play.

Robin Lundberg: As sports are resuming, one of tennis' greats still has some questions about his return to the court. For more, I'm joined by SI senior writer Jon Wertheim. Jon, what's the latest with Rafael Nadal?

Jon Wertheim: Yeah, we've often joked - what would it take to blunt Rafa Nadal's motivation, his persistence, his effort? And now we have the answer, which is a global pandemic. Rafa Nadal has been very outspoken about how reluctant he is to start competing and how ambivalent he is last week. He had a teleconference with a number of reporters and really seemed like someone who's headspace wasn't in tennis right now. He's back out practicing, but he did not commit to playing the 2020 U.S. Open. The French Open is next on the calendar. And it will be interesting to see, he's owned this event, of course, for the last decade and a half. And I think if you step back, the all-time major record holder is Roger Federer. He has 20. Nadal has 19. So if Nadal were to win the next major, he would tie the all-time record. And yet he doesn't seem to be in position to do that. He did not commit to playing the U.S. Open. 

I think it's a little tough for these top players who don't want to outwardly decline to play an event. I think they see that as a setback to tennis, but they've been very chilly. Federer, Nadal, Djokovic, even Serena Williams. They have been sort of noticeably quiet about whether they will resume playing and when. I think they're all very concerned. All of them have families. They're married. And Nadal in particular has been very sort of icy and chilly when he is going to play next. Will it be in 2020? Who knows? But Rafa Nadal seems very impacted by these events of the last few months and the impact that will have on his tennis.