'Rafael Nadal is the best player in history,' says David Ferrer

David Ferrer praised his compatriot ahead of Nadal's 13th Barcelona Open title chase

by Jovica Ilic
'Rafael Nadal is the best player in history,' says David Ferrer

The Barcelona Open tournament director David Ferrer is a happy camper. He brought the world's leading players, Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal, to compete at the next edition of the famous clay-court event. Nadal will return to Pista Rafa Nadal next April, competing in Barcelona for the 17th time and seeking the 13th title!

Ferrer praised his great friend as the greatest player of all time, calling him the symbol of the Barcelona Open. Nadal will return to Barcelona two decades after making a debut there at 16! Rafa has been dominant at the ATP 500 event, scoring 66 victories from 70 matches and lifting 12 trophies.

Rafa lost to Alex Corretja in three sets in 2003 and returned stronger two years later after missing the event in 2004. Nadal won five consecutive Barcelona titles between 2005 and 2009. He skipped the 2010 edition and claimed three straight titles without losing a set between 2011 and 2013 to extend the winning streak.

Rafa's second and third Barcelona losses came in 2014 and 2015 before reigning again between 2016 and 2018, winning all 15 matches in straight sets and restoring the order. Nadal's fourth and last Barcelona loss came in the 2019 quarter-final against Dominic Thiem.

Rafael Nadal will compete in Barcelona for the 17th time.

Rafa's 12th Barcelona title came last year following a hard-fought victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas. Nadal overpowered Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-7, 7-5 in three hours and 37 minutes after fending off a match point!

Thus, Nadal remained perfect in the Barcelona title matches, saving that match point in the decider's tenth game to prevail in the most extended best-of-three final since the start of the ATP Tour in 1990! An in-form Tsitsipas played at a high level and gave his best against Nadal in a memorable final.

The Spaniard prevailed in the decider's closing stages to lift his 61st clay-court ATP title. Rafa saved 11 out of 13 break chances and produced four breaks that sent him over the top. He survived a match point and rattled off the last three games to leave the opponent behind and bring the trophy home.

Stefanos fended off match points in the second set before taking it in the tie break thanks to Nadal's double fault at 6-6. They stayed neck and neck in the decider, and Rafa saved a match point in game ten before delivering the crucial break a few minutes later.

"Rafa is the best player in the sport's history and the symbol of our tournament. To be able to continue enjoying him in Barcelona is a blessing and something that, on a personal level, makes me very excited and happy", David Ferrer said.

Rafael Nadal David Ferrer Barcelona Open