'Rafael Nadal looks like a guy that hasn't played...', says former No.1

Rafael Nadal made his return to the circuit in Madrid

by Simone Brugnoli
'Rafael Nadal looks like a guy that hasn't played...', says former No.1

Rafael Nadal made his return to the circuit in Madrid, reaching the quarter-finals after winning a tremendous battle against David Goffin. The former world number 1 is still far from the best condition and hopes to arrive in top form at Roland Garros, where he will go after his 14th seal.

His compatriot Carlos Alcaraz will now be waiting for him, a great revelation of this start of the season. Rafa also started 2022 in an extraordinary way, winning the Australian Open against all odds. In a tournament that had often been hostile to him in the past, the 35-year-old Majorcan achieved one of the most unexpected feats of his entire career.

Thanks to the triumph in Melbourne Park, the Iberian overtook Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic in the all-time rankings of the Majors. Nadal also became the fourth man in history to have won all the Slams at least twice (along with Djokovic, Rod Laver and Roy Emerson).

On the Tennis Channel microphones, Andy Roddick analyzed Rafa's early releases on his favorite surface.

Andy Roddick on Rafa Nadal

"Yeah, I mean probably about 6, he looks like a guy that hasn't played a tournament in a while but you don't really worry about him on the clay," Andy Roddick said.

Roddick explained that Rafael Nadal does not take much time to find his game and that his basic style of play is already in good shape. "One of Rafa's big things is he can get into these matches and the aggression will come, him opening up the shoulders and bullying people will come," Roddick added.

"His base level of 'listen I can run, I can grind, I can put the ball in awkward spots for my opponent up above their shoulders' that really never goes away. He's gonna keep his unforced error-level low - that's a nice backup plan to have before everything starts making sense in the offensive side of all." Time and again, Rafael Nadal is proving why he is the best in the business.

In his third-round match at the Madrid Open, the Spaniard defeated David Goffin in a three-setter thriller to enter the quarterfinals of the tournament. However, the 21-time Grand Slam champion had to dig deep for his victory.

Nadal saved four match points to hold his nerves and prevail over the Belgian. Nadal happens to be a big fan of Real Madrid. Earlier, he was in attendance at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu to witness the football club’s La Liga title victory. Additionally, he also watched the second leg of the Champions League semi-final against Manchester City.

Rafael Nadal