- 28 May 2020
Spain’s Carla Suárez Navarro didn’t expect her final professional season to go like this. The 31-year-old had planned on making her final Roland-Garros appearance this week, but thanks to the coronavirus pandemic she instead found herself lending a helping hand to those in need as she worked at a local food bank in Las Palmas in the Gran Canaria Island for the last six weeks.
With Roland Garros moved to September, and the rest of the 2020 season still very much in jeopardy, the former world no. 6 has not given up hope on a grand farewell. She is leaving the door open when it comes to her final season as a pro.
“I’ll see how things go during the next few months to decide about my future,” she told Carole Bouchard in an exclusive in for Tennis Majors this week.
The seven-time major quarter-finalist has managed to stay reasonably fit, even while working four-hour shifts at the food bank.
“I did some fitness at home,” the current world no. 68 said. “A local gym lent me a stationary bike so I did many spinning sessions. From May 11th I was allowed to play on a tennis court so I trained three days a week. Right now the situation is much better given that I can use the courts and the gym outside the home.”
Suárez Navarro, a humble and genuine personality who has always been a favorite among her peers, admits that having her final season marred by the coronavirus has been extremely tough. Instead of focusing on saying farewell to the friends and fans that would no doubt be lining up to pay tribute, she has been forced to turn her focus away from the game.
“When I look back, my career makes me feel very proud,” she told Tennis Majors. “Obviously, this situation has been difficult for me. Being aware that many events were canceled during the season I planned to retire. The worldwide pandemic we’re living in is surreal. In this situation, tennis is not the most important thing for anybody.”
Tennis fans hope to see Suárez Navarro back on the court later this summer, but even if the 2020 tennis season doesn’t resume, there is still plenty to be learned from her actions off the court. A selfless nature and eagerness to help the needy in a time of crisis are further proof that the Spaniard will continue to be an asset to the sport and the world at large after her retirement.
“I felt inside myself that I wanted to be more involved,” she said. “Helping others should be a priority for everyone, many families are having a hard time these days so I felt it was the moment to give a helping hand.”