July 12, 2024

Open Court


When your uncle and coach is the tournament director, you probably won’t have trouble getting practice-court time at the event he’s running.

But Rafael Nadal’s practice session at the Mallorca Open Tuesday caused somewhat of a logjam.

There are three practice courts on site at the tournament. But on Tuesday – with so many players still in the event – they were down to two for several hours. A doubles match had to be relocated from the stadium court to one of the designated practice courts. The reason was that singles match suspended the previous evening because of darkness had to be completed.

The match, featuring top seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, needed to resume on the stadium court. As it was, there already was a doubles match scheduled on that extra court.

That dropped the available practice courts down to two.

When Nadal and his team (including tournament director Toni) took over another court, the total number of practice courts available to the players was down to one, one coach on hand told Tennis.Life.

With 39 players in action on on a busy Tuesday, that’s not nearly enough.

Prep time at home

Nadal withdrew from the event at Queen’s Club after his momentous 10th French Open title last Sunday. 

He’s using this time to get in some early practice on the grass while staying at home in Mallorca. And it’s not as though there are grass courts around every corner on that Balearic island.

Still, the tournament director put the needs of his nephew above the needs of a second-year tournament. It’s a tournament that still is in the growing pains stage and, in competition with the Premier tournament in Birmingham, needs to develop a reputation amongst the players as having good practice conditions as they prepare for Wimbledon.

It’s not the end of the world. But it’s not a great look, especially as women’s tennis generally always takes a back seat in Spain. You need only look at the number of WTA Tour events that have tried, and failed, to gain a foothold there.

The tournament even streamed a portion of Nadal’s practice live on Facebook, something they have not done for any of the players in the tournament. And there are more photos of him there as there are of any other player.

There will only be two courts used as match courts Wednesday, compared to the four in use on Tuesday. So the problem will be resolved going forward.

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