How does the covid protocol affect Nadal's rituals?

How does the covid protocol affect Nadal's rituals?

The new regulation prohibits ball boys from touching towels. Instead, the tournaments are placing four stands for each player. It will be one of the discomforts for Spanish manias

How does the covid protocol affect Nadal's rituals?

Rafa Nadal's matches are full of rituals and superstitions. The best known is the service, but even that is full of small details, all choreographed to the millimeter, that can go unnoticed. Before each serve, the Majorcan wipes the line with his right foot and shakes the sand from his shoes with his racket. First the left, then the right. After discarding one of the three balls and bouncing the chosen one with the racket, the underpants arrive, a mania that his uncle Toni Nadal tried to remove without success.

Still bouncing the ball with his racket, Nadal adjusts his shirt on his left shoulder , then his right, and then goes to his face. Although in these months we have learned that this gesture must be avoided, the Spaniard keeps that part of the ritual intact: he wipes the sweat from his nose and passes his hair behind his left ear. He dries his nose again and runs his hair behind his right ear. Bounce four times with the right hand and finally serve.

But the ritual that will be most affected by the new protocol against the coronavirus will be that of towels . Nadal is one of the tennis players who most resorts to ball boys to wipe his sweat during matches – again, with an order: left arm, nose, left side of the face, nose, right side of the face, right arm.

However, the new regulation prohibits for obvious reasons that these workers touch the towels. Instead, the tournaments are placing four stands for each player, one in each corner and differentiated by colors or numbers, where they must leave their towels to go and get them themselves.

The protocol also affects attendance on the bench . The only people who will be able to remove the towels used in the breaks or give them the drinks will be the tournament workers (never the ball boys) with protective equipment (gloves, mask and screen).

This rule has already elicited some complaints from players during the US tour. On the one hand, because it slows down the game – “The worst thing is when you want to use it before subtracting. I would like to use it more often, but if I do I take the rival out of rhythm,” Tsitsipas pointed out.

But mostly because at the US Open he counted as part of the 25 seconds to serve – “He has stressed me out a couple of times,” protested Djokovic. And that, if the Masters 1000 in Rome decides to keep it, it could be a problem for Nadal , who already has a fairly long ritual. Despite the complaints, it may be one of the 'novelties' that have come to stay.

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