Rafael Nadal US Open 2019

Australian Open chief ‘confident’ Rafael Nadal and other Covid-19 positive players will play

Craig Tiley thinks that “now would be the best time” for a player to test positive for Covid-19 if they wish to compete at the upcoming Australian Open, this includes Rafael Nadal.

After being injured for the past five months and his Australian Open participation remaining unclear, Rafael Nadal made his comeback at the Abu Dhabi Exhibition as he looks to improve his fitness.

Nadal lost to three-time Grand Slam winner Andy Murray in the semi-finals and Denis Shapovalov in the third place play-off. Despite these losses, Nadal said he was pleased with his performance after a five month absence.

Upon returning to Spain from Abu Dhabi, Nadal revealed he had tested positive for Covid-19. A total of four players tested positive at the Abu Dhabi event amidst the global spike in cases caused by the newly-discovered Omicron variant.

US Open victor and British sensation Emma Raducanu was forced to withdraw prior to the event starting. Whilst her replacement Ons Jabeur, Swiss Olympic gold medallist Belinda Bencic and 20-time Slam champion Nadal all contracted Covid-19 during or immediately after the tournament.

As a result of contracting Covid-19, Raducanu was forced to miss the BBC Sport Personality of the Year Award ceremony and had to deliver her acceptance speech virtually after winning the prestigious award.

With the Australian Open taking place in January, it is unclear how Covid-19 will affect the participation of players who test positive. However, Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley is confident they will be able to feature.

Tournament director Tiley told reporters in Melbourne “I am confident Rafa [Nadal] will be here.

“Players that are testing positive [for Covid-19] now will complete a period of time until they are no longer infectious and they’ll be fine.

“If you’re going to test positive and you want to play the Australian Open, your timing would be now.”

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.