How The Coronavirus Pandemic Will Change Everything In Men’s Tennis This Year
The 2020 tennis season is completely on hold due to the coronavirus and no one knows when the tennis season will resume. This break will have a big impact on the season for a number of reasons – especially the upcoming grand slams. We already know that the French Open has moved to September and we don’t even know what’s going to happen with the others. At any rate, here’s a look at how the outbreak will impact the 2020 tennis season.
The injury to Roger Federer now has a very different reality. Federer was going to miss four months through the French Open. He was hoping to make his return in time for the grass season in the middle of June. Now, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic won’t be able to load up on points during the clay season. They will not make big points gains over Federer, meaning that Federer can stay close to the top of the tennis rankings without falling to No. 7 or No. 8 in the rankings. Federer won’t lag behind the rest of the tour, and when the tennis world does come back to life – whenever that is; it certainly won’t be anytime soon – Federer should be fully recovered from his injury and ready to perform at or close to his very best. The Federer injury was going to benefit Stefanos Tsitsipas, Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, and Daniil Medvedev, but with the whole tennis tour suspended, those younger players will no longer get the benefits they were expecting when Federer bowed out of the tour for four months. Those four months will come and go without anyone being able to build or increase a points lead over Federer in the rankings.
WHO WOULD BENEFIT HELP BESIDES FEDERER?
The other big beneficiary of a long break is Rafael Nadal. Remember the 2013 season in which Nadal came back from a break of roughly seven months due to injuries and persistent knee problems? Nadal was very fresh after the long period away from the sport. He not only won the French Open, but he won Canada, Cincinnati, and the U.S. Open, the three big events in the North American summer hardcourt season. Only two other players had ever won those three tournaments in succession: Patrick Rafter in 1998 and Andy Roddick in 2003.
Nadal being able to rest his body and step away from the grind of tennis for an extended period of time could give him the rejuvenation he needs to continue his career and play well into his late 30s. He didn’t want this to happen, but since it has happened, he is in position to make very good use of this development. Nadal getting extended time off will remove a burden from Nadal’s mind. He can spend a year not having to push himself, so that when he comes back, he will be mentally ready to rededicate himself to the task of taking down Novak Djokovic and reclaiming supremacy on tour. One could say that Dominic Thiem, who made the Australian Open final, might gain a benefit in that the suspension of tennis will allow him to be less self-critical after losing that Australian Open final to Djokovic in five sets. However, if one was to compare Nadal and Thiem, Nadal would seem to gain a lot more from this suspension than Thiem. Nadal can maximize this break in ways Thiem has not yet shown he can deliver.
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