Rafael Nadal has said tennis should not resume until players are able to travel safely in order to compete around the world.
“If you asked me today if I want to travel to New York to play, I will say: no, I will not. In a couple of months I don’t know how the situation will improve,” he said.
The ATP and WTA will decide on 15 June the fate of the US Open and the remainder of the tour in the US. Should the tournament go ahead it will have made significant compromises, including ferrying players to New York on charter flights from a handful of cities.
Nadal said: “We need to be responsible, we need to be sending strong messages and we need to be a positive example for society. We need to understand we are suffering an unprecedented situation and my feeling is that we need to come back when all the players from all the countries of the world are able to travel under safe circumstances.
“If not? In my personal opinion we will come back and I probably will play but my feeling will be that we are not being 100% correct.”
Wednesday marked Nadal’s 34th birthday, one of the few in the past 15 years he has spent outside Paris rather than in the middle of one of his 12 Roland Garros title runs. The question of how the suspension will affect him remains unclear.
He said: “I think the longer stop is tougher for older bodies because it is more difficult to come back to 100%. But at the same time we have the experience, too. I have experienced injuries, so in some way we know how to come back.
“I cannot tell you if we will not be able to play longer or not, let’s see. I’m passionate about coming back on the tour, playing for a couple of years hopefully and keep enjoying the things I like the most.
Nadal has been watching the protests in the United States over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. “All the normal people and all the people who want a peaceful and good world, we are against racism, poverty, all the terrible stuff which is happening more often than we would like.
“When you see all these disasters on the streets, my feeling is: ‘That is not the way to protest.’ That’s not a good example. The situation is critical but I really believe strongly in people and I really believe we will be able to fix the problems.
“Everything takes time. All the improvements in our story, the human story, have taken time but we are getting there in all ways. To be for everybody the same, for everybody to have the same opportunities, the same rights in terms of being protected. We have to keep working hard to make this world a better place.”