Rafael Nadal does not have good memories from his 2015 appearance at the Rio Open on clay. That year the Spanish player ended his quarter-final match at 3:00 AM against Pablo Cuevas, and then, 20 hours later, he returned to the court and faced Fabio Fognini in the semi-finals.
The Italian would eventually win in a three-set thrilling match, and Nadal complained a lot about the schedule system. In a recent exclusive interview with Tennis World USA, the Tournament Director Luiz Carvalho recalled that tough time.
'When Nadal had finished at 3:00 AM, on that day we had four matches with the first one starting at 3:00 PM and all the matches lasted three hours each. Nadal was the last player on the schedule and he played a long match as well.
The whole situation was not ideal for the players and for the event, Nadal was on the negative part but over five years at the Rio Open that was the only time that it happened. At the US Open, Washington, in China it has happened many times.
There are things that sometimes we cannot control.' Speaking about Fognini's great win over Nadal, Carvalho added: 'That was an incredible match. In the beginning Nadal started taking the lead, he was under control and the crowd started to be a little bit behind Fognini, who was the player down on the score.
Fabio had an incredible reaction and the match point was everything. People really like Fabio, he has an intriguing personality, he shows emotions and we are happy to have him for the sixth edition. He is one of the favorites to win the title in 2019.' ALSO READ: Rafael Nadal: Worse players than David Ferrer won a Grand Slam title