Rafael Nadal rocked by major blow ahead of Australian Open

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Rafael Nadal and coach Carlos Moya, pictured here at the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals.
Rafael Nadal and coach Carlos Moya at the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals in November. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

If Rafael Nadal wants to win the Australian Open for just the second time in his career, he will have to do it without his coach.

Nadal and last year’s Australian Open finalist Dominic Thiem have both suffered setbacks ahead of the February 8 major, with their coaches unable to make the trip to Australia for the year’s first tennis grand slam.

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Players and officials have to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival in Australia before they participate in warm-up events from January 31 at Melbourne Park.

Nadal’s coach Carlos Moya said he would not be travelling to Australia due to the strict health restrictions.

“After speaking with Rafa, we have decided that I won't travel to Australia with the team,” Moya, a former World No.1, said on social media.

“I will follow the tournament from home and will stay with my family, parents and kids due to the delicate situation that Spain is living with the virus. Best of luck to the team.”

Nadal, US Open champion Thiem and defending Australian Open winner Novak Djokovic will be among top players quarantining in Adelaide and then head to Melbourne for the team-based ATP Cup and the grand slam.

Thiem’s coach Nicolas Massu of Chile was not on the flight to Australia, having tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

“Before we took off, we received the surprising message from Nicolas Massu that he had a positive test,” Thiem’s father Wolfgang was quoted as saying by Austria's Kurier daily.

“Nico will be tested again in a few days. We hope that he will be negative then and he will be able to follow suit soon.”

With restrictions on arrival in Australia, it was unlikely that Massu, a former top-10 player, could be part of Thiem’s team at Melbourne Park.

Rafael Nadal, pictured here arriving at Adelaide Airport.
Rafael Nadal arrives at Adelaide Airport. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

Andy Murray’s participation in doubt

Meanwhile, Andy Murray is in doubt for the Australian Open after organisers confirmed that he had tested positive for coronavirus.

Murray, 33, was awarded a wildcard by organisers to play in the main draw.

Tennis Australia says Murray will not be able to to catch the official charter flights for the tournament after testing positive.

“Andy Murray has advised that he has tested positive for COVID-19 and is isolating at home in the UK,” Tennis Australia said in a statement.

“Unfortunately this means he will be unable to join the official AO charter flights arriving in Australia in the coming days to go through the quarantine period with the other players.

“The AO fans love Andy, and we know how much he loves competing here in Melbourne and how hard he'd worked for this opportunity.”

British media reported Murray was in good health and still hoped to compete at Melbourne Park in the major, which has been pushed back three weeks and will start on February 8 because of strict pandemic health measures in Australia.

with AAP

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