Spanish star Rafael Nadal has suggested there should be no pro tennis events held until next year due to the coronavirus pandemic and worries about injuries when players return to action.

Nadal, 33, spoke of his fears regarding competitive tennis being brought back too quickly, not just in terms of the possibility of catching Covid-19, but also the prospect of many players picking up injuries after such a long period of inactivity.

“I would sign up right now just to being ready for 2021,” he said.

“I’m more concerned with the Australian Open than with what happens later this year. I think 2020 has been practically lost. I’m hopeful of being able to start next year.”

Spain has been one of the countries in Europe hit hardest by the pandemic, and as the lockdown there has started to be relaxed, Nadal has also voiced concerns that the laws are confusing when it comes to sports.

His colleague on the pro tour and current world number one Novak Djokovic was accused of breaking the quarantine laws in Spain when he was seen practicing in Marbella when the tennis federation said players were not yet allowed on courts.

“It’s not clear to me whether I can go practice or not,” Nadal said.

Nadal additionally worries that the amount of travel required by top tennis would make the logistics of restarting tournaments in the current climate nigh-on impossible.

The 19-Grand Slam winner is also beginning to feel the years he has under his belt, especially during the pandemic.

“Sadly, I’m not going to lie to you, the feeling is that we are losing a year of our lives,” he explained.

“And at 33, 34 years old, that is more valuable than at 20, when you have more time ahead of you.”

The men’s and women’s tours have been suspend until at least mid-July, while Wimbledon became the first Grand Slam of the year to be canceled as a result of the global health crisis.

Optimists still hope the US Open will still be held in late August, and the French Open has been rescheduled to take place shortly afterwards – although both prospects are diminishing as the Covid-19 chaos drags on.