Madrid Masters tournament director Feliciano Lopez admits the whole tournament organization is excited about having Rafael Nadal at the tournament. Nadal, ranked at No. 4 in the world, is set to play his first clay event of the season in Madrid.
A month and a half ago in Indian Wells, Nadal sustained a stress fracture in one of his ribs. The injury forced Nadal to delay the start of his clay season and skip Monte Carlo and Barcelona. This week, Nadal confirmed he plans to kick off his clay season in the Spanish capital.
"We are very excited that Rafa is here with us. I have hopes in that we can see him 100% on Wednesday," Lopez said, per Sportskeeda. This year, the Madrid crowd will also be excited to see Carlos Alcaraz in action.
Alcaraz, 18, is already a Masters champion and he is also enjoying a career-high ranking of No. 9 in the world. Some think Alcaraz is the new Nadal and the Madrid crowd will certainly be extremely excited to see the 18-year-old in action.
"I think that Spanish tennis is in an incredible moment," Lopez told Marca. "It's a joy to have someone like Carlos Alcaraz in Spanish tennis."
Nadal couldn't wait any longer
Nadal is already behind in his preparation for the French Open.
If nothing changes, Nadal will play Madrid and Rome before the French Open. "Despite only just arriving with preparation and it being difficult, I really want to play and play at home since the opportunities are few," Nadal tweeted this week.
"I will try to do it in the best possible way. See you in Madrid”. Nadal usually doesn't play the week before the French Open but he might decide to do so if his campaigns in Madrid and Rome don't go well. Nadal is a five-time Madrid champion but he hasn't won the tournament since 2017.