Rafael Nadal shares terrible news: 'This could be my last time'

Rafael Nadal will compete in Madrid despite physical issues

by Jovica Ilic
Rafael Nadal shares terrible news: 'This could be my last time'
© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Four-time Caja Magica champion Rafael Nadal will compete in front of the home fans in Madrid on Thursday, facing the young American Darwin Blanch in the first round. Rafa explained his physical condition ahead of the home Masters 1000 event, saying he would not compete if it were some other tournament!

Nadal had some ups and downs while training in Madrid, as always in the previous couple of years. He did not feel 100% but was still trying his best to prepare for the official action, aware it could be his last time playing in Madrid.

Rafa has played only four tournaments since the beginning of 2023, struggling with injuries and missing a chance to fight for more notable titles in the closing stages of his career. The match against Blanch will be Nadal's first at a Masters 1000 level since Paris 2022, missing all the action in 2023 and the beginning of the current season.

Rafael Nadal, Madrid 2024© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Rafael Nadal will compete at the Madrid Masters despite not being at 100%.

Rafa injured his left hip at last year's Australian Open, staying away from the court for a year.

A 22-time Major winner returned at the ATP 250 event in Brisbane at the beginning of 2024, beating Dominic Thiem and Jason Kubler for a promising start. However, Nadal's body could not endure a marathon against Jordan Thompson in the quarter-final!

The Spaniard wasted match points in a 5-7, 7-6, 6-3 loss after three hours and 25 minutes, feeling the pain around his hip again and missing the Australian Open. Nadal returned to Mallorca and hit the practice court in February.

He felt the pain in his abdominal muscle, struggling to serve and missing Doha, Indian Wells and Monte Carlo before entering Barcelona.

Rafael Nadal, Madrid 2024© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Rafa played well in the first match at his beloved event, beating the young Italian Flavio Cobolli in straight sets.

It was Nadal's first match in 100 days, and he played well on serve and return, overcoming his young opponent and setting the clash against Alex de Minaur. The veteran stayed competitive against the Aussie in the first set, overcoming a break deficit and having a chance to move in front.

However, he failed to do that and faded from the court in the closing stages, losing the set 7-5 and standing powerless in the second. Rafa admitted he could not endure three sets at a high level, wishing for a better run in Madrid.

However, the Spaniard is still far from his best, dealing with physical issues and not looking good ahead of his beloved Roland Garros. "I'm not at 100%, but competing in Madrid one last time is important. I look forward to playing at Caja Magica again; it means a lot because I believe this is my last time competing here. Despite the issues, I will step in and enter my first-round match," Rafael Nadal said.

Rafael Nadal