Top 5 Photos 9/14: Djokovic and Nadal prepare for Rome

Tanya Simon
September 16, 2020

Debate raged for months after the United States Tennis Association announced in June that the hardcourt Grand Slam would go ahead in NY, which was once the global epicentre of the novel coronavirus pandemic, albeit without any fans in attendance.

"Obviously, it's not the same thing".

Nadal who beat Thiem in the last two French Open finals said the Austrian deserved to win the title.

"Excited to be back. He deserves it", said Nadal.

Professional tennis was shut down from March until early August.

The French Open, which is played in May every year, was postponed till September 21 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

What surface is Pablo Carreno Busta vs Rafael Nadal being played on? I understand that I have outbursts, and this is kind of the personality and the player that I have always been, you know.

"But here I am". I arrived with plenty of time to try to have the right practices. That's what I am doing. I have my first chance here in Rome. "As for the disqualification, I need to go back within and work on my disappointment and turn this all into a lesson for my growth and evolution as a player and human being", the No. 1 ranked men's player continued.

Rafael Nadal chose not to defend his title in NY and will play his first tournament since the end of February in Rome.

"I can not promise or can not guarantee that I will never ever do anything similar to that in my life". Regardless of how he feels, I'm sure he'll find a way.

"It was totally unexpected and very unintended as well", Djokovic said. The rules are clear, I accepted that.

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"I don't know what's going on", the 34-year-old told journalists when questioned about the French Open.

In Djokovic's absence, Austria's second-seeded Dominic Thiem claimed his maiden grand slam title in NY after he came back from two sets down to beat Germany's Alexander Zverev in the final.

"Rafa obviously chose to stay on clay and practice, surely that gives him more advantage, but even if he didn't practice for that long on clay, he would still be the number one favourite in Roland Garros or any other clay tournament because he's Rafa, you know", he added.

Nadal agreed all tennis players are aware of the rules and if you lose "self-control" a default can be the outcome.

Serena Williams, suffering from an Achilles tendon problem, and US Open champion Naomi Osaka will also skip the Rome event.

The action has already begun at the Foro Italico, with two more seeds from the top half losing out in the first round: Cristian Garin lost to Coric, and Karen Khachanov to Casper Ruud.

"I checked on [the line judge] after the match, she said that she was fine, that there were no injuries".

One thing is for sure, he will not be making the same mistake in Rome and Paris as he made in NY, even though he assured the media that he could make no promises about the rest of his career. We can not leave the hotel, we can not leave the bubble.

"I forgot to add something else".

Czech Karolina Pliskova, seeded third, is the defending champion in Rome.

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