Old foxes Nadal and Djokovic put Sinner and Alcataz aside to 'burn' Rome

The Spaniard and the Serbian will be the most anticipated tennis players in the men's singles at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Old foxes Nadal and Djokovic put Sinner and Alcataz aside to 'burn' Rome
© Clive Brunskill / Staff Getty Images Sport

Old foxes new tricks. Without the two young stars Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner - both out due to physical problems - the Italian Open in Rome will have two men who will take the stage: Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

Regardless of the absence of Carlitos and Jannik, Rafa and Nole would still have been the most anticipated in the men's singles, for reasons that everyone knows.

For Rafa this will be the last time at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia. Djokovic comes from a complicated period: there is a lot of expectation to see if the Serbian will have overcome the problems at the beginning of the season. So the eyes of the tennis fans at the ATP Masters 1000 in Rome will once again be on Djokovic and Nadal.

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic© Clive Brunskill / Staff Getty Images Sport

Djokovic is expected in Rome in a few hours. The Serbian champion was unable to break the deadlock in terms of titles in 2024 and carefully chose the events in which to take part or which to skip.

The real goal of the ATP No.1 is to reach top form between Rome, Paris, London and Paris Olimpica. Djokovic has always experienced the tournaments in which he represents Serbia with great enthusiasm and the Paris 2024 Olympic Games are very important for him.

His path will start again from Rome, where he will have to demonstrate that he is still able to raise the level of his tennis in the clutch moments.

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic© Julian Finney / Staff Getty Images Sport

Rafa, however, has already arrived in Rome and had the opportunity to train on the Central Court of the Foro Italico, in front of a large number of fans ready to support him.

The Spaniard, after being injured again during his stay in Australia last January, returned to compete at the ATP 500 tournament in Barcelona.
Tournament in which he clearly surpassed Flavio Cobolli in the first round, but which saw him lose in two sets against Alex de Minaur, suffering particularly in the second set.

Nadal, at the end of the match with the Australian, then explained that he had not forced his shots so as not to risk worsening his physical condition.

Things went much better at the Mutua Madrid Open, because the Majorcan made good steps forward and tried to make more of an impact from the baseline. Nadal thus reached the round of 16 and lost only to one of the best versions of Jiri Lehecka.

The crowd of the Manolo Santana Stadium paid tribute to the Spanish legend in what was his last match in Madrid. In Rome, Nadal will further test his conditions to try to experience the Roland Garros as a protagonist.

Time passes, generations change, the world moves forward, but it's nice to once again have certainties like Rafa and Nole, ready once again to take the center stage.

And perhaps, thanks to a particularly favorable astral combination, they could even compete on the Italian Open courts, in what could be one of their last matches, before the Spaniad will retire from tennis. Dream or utopia?

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal© Clive Brunskill/Staff - Getty Images Sport

Angelo Binaghi: "Sinner's absence was a stab"

The CEO of the Italian Tennis and Padel Federation Angelo Binaghi opened the special press conference called at the Foro Italico in Rome to allow Jannik Sinner to explain the reason for his refusal to play the Internazionali BNL d'Italia.

"Thanks to Jannik for coming here, it's an honor for him. It's a difficult moment for Sinner, his phone call yesterday was a cold stab. I thought the alarm had gone away. I was in a meeting, I saw Jannik's call and I didn't have the strength to call him back for half an hour.

It was supposed to be his party, but once again the choice was right thanks to his top-notch staff, probably the best possible moment of difficulty, during the Davis Cup: his goal is medium term.

Continuity is not about winning an important tournament like the Internationals or a Davis Cup round. His choice, however painful, was the right one. Now we need to start again stronger than before," said Binaghi.

Jannik Sinner
Jannik Sinner© Clive Brunskill / Staff Getty Images Sport

Jannik will not take part in the Italian Open due to the hip problem and has also questioned his participation in the Roland Garros. The 22-year-old explained that he will not take any unnecessary risks if he is not at 100%, because taking care of his body to give longevity to his career remains the most important thing.

Sinner will take  a short period of rest and will evaluate the evolution of the hip injury with his team in the coming weeks.

Internazionali Bnl