Watch: Rafael Nadal trains in Barcelona, but will he play?

Rafael Nadal will try to play in Barcelona next week

by Jovica Ilic
Watch: Rafael Nadal trains in Barcelona, but will he play?
© Alex Caparros / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Rafael Nadal stepped onto the court that carries his name in Barcelona! The 12-time champion and home favorite practiced at one of his beloved events, testing his body ahead of a big decision. Rafa is still unsure about his Barcelona Open participation, working on his serve after struggling with an abdominal injury in recent months.

Nadal has not played since the opening week of the season, feeling the pain in Brisbane and skipping the Australian Open. The Spaniard had to withdraw from Doha, Indian Wells and Monte Carlo, dealing with abdominal pain since February and postponing his comeback.

Rafa trained in front of the crowd without serving, hitting groundstrokes and working on his initial shot behind the closed door.

Rafael Nadal, Barcelona 2021© Alex Caparros / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Nadal was unhappy with his level, but everything is on the table in the next two days.

The Spaniard will not make rush decisions after playing only seven matches since the beginning of 2023, hoping to compete injury-free at Roland Garros and the Olympic Games. Rafa will try to recover by Madrid or Rome if he skips Barcelona, as he looks eager to play at least some encounters ahead of his beloved Major.

Nadal is the ultimate legend at the Barcelona Open, winning 66 out of 70 matches and lifting 12 trophies from as many finals! Nadal debuted in Barcelona at 16 in 2003, falling to Alex Corretja and returning stronger two years later.

Rafa took down Juan Carlos Ferrero in the 2005 final, starting his incredible reign and lifting five consecutive titles by 2009.

Rafael Nadal is training in Barcelona ahead of next week's event.

Nadal skipped Barcelona in 2010, leaving his rivals to fight for the trophy before restoring order in 2011, conquering three straight tournaments without losing a set!

Rafa experienced losses in 2014 and 2015 after not playing at his best and made another push between 2016 and 2018, winning all 15 matches in straight sets and adding 11 Barcelona Open trophies to his rich collection. The home favorite fell to Dominic Thiem in the 2019 quarter-final, suffering his fourth and last loss at his beloved event.

Rafael Nadal, Barcelona 2021© Alex Caparros / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Rafa's most recent campaign came in 2021 and ended victoriously after a thriller. Nadal prevailed over Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-7, 7-5 in the title clash after three hours and 37 minutes after fending off a match point.

Rafa denied 11 out of 13 break points, refusing to surrender and maintaining his perfect score in the title matches. Tsitsipas gave everything to emerge at the top, wasting a match point in the tenth game of the decider and finishing runner-up after dropping the final three games of the match.

Ranked outside the top-600, Nadal would have to play in the first round next week if he decides to enter the draw.

Rafael Nadal