Nadal's vintage photo

The striking image of the crowded stands in Australia reminds us of the happy past, but also does not transport to the future, to post-pandemic sport.


Last Friday a sports photograph made an impact. In another era it would have been an everyday image, but not in these times. In it you see two tennis players, Rafa Nadal and Dominic Thiem, in the middle of an exhibition match in Adelaide, with the public delivered. All normal, if it weren't for that crowded stands. "I missed you," Rafa said, microphone in hand, to the general applause. The image evokes the happy past to become almost a vintage photo, but it also does not transport to the future, to post-pandemic sport with the return of the fans. There is a lot of longing and a lot of longing in that picture. Australia can afford this scenario, because there coronavirus infections are controlled. With sacrifice, with an iron hand and with common sense. Note should be taken.

That is precisely the image that we are going to see repeated from this week and for much of this February in Melbourne, where world tennis is concentrated. First, with the celebrations of the ATP Cup, that competition by countries invented to trip Davis, and official tournaments corresponding to the men's and women's circuits, set up especially for the occasion. And then with the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the season, which will start three weeks later than its scheduled dates. The event has been saved with the effort and generosity of the oceanic country and the tennis players themselves, who accepted strict quarantine conditions, confined to hotels and with minimal outside contact. There have been complaints, especially from those who have not been able to train, who had to shut themselves up for having been in close contact with positives. That group will compete in inequality. But one look at that photo of Nadal shows that it was worth it. Health and sport.

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