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Rafael Nadal has overcome plenty of opponents in his legendary ATP Tour career, but he faced perhaps his toughest one on Monday: technology.

The Spaniard held a star-filled Instagram Live that included Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Marc Lopez. Nadal laughed as he visibly struggled with the platform and how to bring his fellow players into the conversation, admitting that it was his first time going live.

“As you can see, I’m a disaster in everything. But I’m trying hard,” Nadal said, smiling. Murray took a playful dig at Nadal in the comments section and wrote, “This is brilliant… He can win 52 French Opens, but not work Instagram.”

Nadal finally managed to bring Federer in and the pair caught up on what their recent weeks have looked like. The Swiss provided an update on his recovery from right knee surgery in February and said he’s happy with the progress made so far.

“I had a really good first six weeks, then things got a bit slower, now it’s good again. But I have plenty of time obviously. There’s no rush,” Federer said. “I’ve been hitting a bit against the wall, doing my rehab and my fitness. The good thing is that the second surgery is easier than the first one. I don’t need to experience a third one, though!”

Federer and Nadal reminisced about their hectic schedules of juggling school and training as junior players. The Swiss said that the importance of keeping to a schedule is something he’s instilled in his children and it’s remained particularly important while in lockdown.

“We’re big on routines with school, when to eat and when to sleep. I think that’s important when you have kids, especially multiple children,” Federer said. “The hard part now is that we can’t interact or see anyone, including my parents. The kids would love to play with other ones. But having four kids here, they can always be with each other.”

The natural rapport between both men was on display, with Federer jokingly cheering when Nadal admitted that he hadn’t hit a ball since early March. He also grilled the Spaniard about playing as a lefty when he’s naturally right-handed, acknowledging that handling the lefty spin is one of his biggest challenges when they face off.

“I cannot play righty. That’s just a legend!” Nadal said, laughing. “My basketball skills are with the right [hand], everything else is with the right, but not with football or tennis. I started playing with a two-handed backhand and forehand. The people I was working with probably didn’t know if I was righty or lefty.”

After Federer left, Nadal brought Murray in for a conversation. Murray shared the exciting news that the recovery from his right hip injury is going well and joked that his biggest challenge is home schooling their two young children.

“I’ve been training a lot and still able to do lots of things, but haven’t hit any balls for five weeks. I feel pretty good, so let’s see when we’re able to start [competing] again.” Murray said.
“I’m just trying to find stuff to do with the kids every day. It’s been tough, but it’s been nice to spend so much time with the kids and family. We’re not used to that.

“It’s difficult trying to teach your kids as parents. You appreciate the work that the teachers are doing a lot more because the kids don’t always want to listen to what parents have to say.”

Both men will participate next week in the Mutua Madrid Open Virtual Pro, swapping their racquets for a Playstation 4 to compete against other ATP and WTA players using the Tennis World Tour video game. Nadal joked that “they don’t want me to do well in Madrid this year” and only recently played the game for the first time. When Murray said he selected Nadal as his character to compete on clay against Federer, the Spaniard asked if he “hit against [Roger’s] backhand all the time” for the match.

“After a set, you were unbelievably tired,” Murray said, laughing. “The energy bar on the side of the screen was almost empty. I’ve never seen you get tired after one set!” Nadal admitted that he needed to sharpen his gaming skills and said that he would text the Brit to play a match.

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Nadal opened his Instagram Live by answering several fan questions in English and Spanish. He said that while tending to business with his foundation and academy has kept him occupied, he looked forward to competing and seeing his fellow players in person aagain.

“I played with Andy, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Richard Gasquet and Gael Monfils as kids. It’s been a lifetime of experiences,” Nadal said. “We were traveling and practising a lot as kids in order to become professional tennis players. It’s great to stay together now on Tour because we made our dreams come true.

“My motivation is very easy to understand. I love what I’m doing. I feel super lucky for all the experiences that I’m able to enjoy because of tennis. I like to be out there playing in the best stadiums, enjoying the competition. I’m doing my best to stay healthy and keep the same routines so I can be ready for when I have the chance to come back.”

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