In the last 18 months, also because of the bad results, Rafael Nadal tried several Babolat rackets prototypes using new Luxilon Strings. He did it in May 2015 before using again the strings he has been using since 2010, it means 'Babolat RPM Blast', he tried again in December of the same year.
Even in that case, Nadal's attempt was unsuccessful as he used Luxilon strings in the first two months of the 2016 season getting some poor results at the Australian Open, Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. However in March 2016 Xavi Segura, official stringer of the Spanish Davis Cup team and a person who is trusted by Rafa, had said that he had to change racket.
And it seems that Rafa is following this suggestion. On Tuesday evening Nadal practiced using a black racket without any mark of brand, and he also stopped often to speak to his uncle Toni. According to a fan who was there, these rackets would have been sent him by HEAD, but straightaway Nadal's manager Benito Perez Barbadillo, contacted by TennisWorld USA, totally denied this possibility.
Nadal is probably using only a new Babolat racket prototype, and so will continue his relationship with the company that signed a 10-year contract with him in 2007 (it expires in 2017).
Meanwhile Nadal will play ATP 500 Barcelona event also in 2017 from 24 to 30 april April on the Real Tenis Club Courts.
The Spaniard won nine times in Barcelona (from 2005 to 2009 defeating in the final Ferrero, Robredo, Canas, two times Ferrer) and from 2011 to 2013 (beating other two times David Ferrer and also Nicolas Almagro) and in 2016 beating Kei Nishikori in the final.
"I will return to play the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, a very important tournament in the tennis calendar due to its great tradition on clay court. It is very special for me to compete at home in Spain. Playing in front of my home crowd at my club in Barcelona is very special and gives me extra motivation", said the World No.
9. Nadal played 12 times the ATP 500, in 2010 he wasn"t there due to a minor knee problem. In 2014 he was beaten by Nicolas Almagro in three sets despite he was up 3-1 in the third set, and in 2015 he lost to Fabio Fognini 6-4 7-5.