Nadal, Serena’s coach planning pro matches at academies

Nineteen-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal and the coach of Serena Williams said they are exploring the possibility of holding professional matches at their tennis academies to allow players to compete and fans to watch online.

A statement posted on the website of the Rafa Nadal Academy said the facility on the Spanish island of Mallorca could “possibly become a campus where elite players can reside, train and compete between themselves in matches that will be televised so that fans around the world can enjoy them.”

Patrick Mouratoglou
Patrick Mouratoglou.(Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports)

“Right now tennis takes a back seat and the most important thing is everyone’s health, but if in the coming months the Academy can be used to help other professional players, I’d be delighted if they could come to train and also to compete,” Nadal said in the statement.

“I think that competing among ourselves would help us maintain our game for when the tour restarts.”

Play on the ATP and WTA tours has been suspended until at least July because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, Patrick Mouratoglou, who coaches Williams, said Saturday he plans to form a league and stage 50 matches at his academy near Nice, France, with “millions of US dollars in prize money” at stake.

Mouratoglou said the league would host 10 matches a weekend for five weeks, calling it the “Ultimate Tennis Showdown.” No spectators would be allowed.

League play would begin May 16.

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)