The Barcelona Open Tournament Director Albert Costa is pleased and happy with the 67th edition's field. Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Kei Nishikori and Karen Khachanov lead the way. On Nadal's appearance, Costa admitted that this is everything but granted.
Nadal, like all the top players, asks for high appearance fees to play the ATP 250s and 500s. "It seems easy to have him, but you have to know that the effort we make for him to come to play the tournament is big," admitted Costa.
"He is the favorite once again and counting on him is a luxury. You have a very high tennis level and a lot of young guys who are the future of the sport. Out of the last draws we have had, it's the best one of all. This year a lot of young people who are called to be the stars of the future will be there.
In two or three years they will be the ones who will lead the tennis world. Some of them like Denis Shapovalov, Alex de Minaur, Frances Tiafoe and Felix Auger have already left flashes of their quality and are expected to begin to write their story.
It looks like a Grand Slam of the future. They are the Nadal, Djokovic and Federer's of the future. It's important that they get to know the younger guys and the upcoming ones for the time when they will win Majors."
In Barcelona, Nadal won 58 matches out of 61 played. He only lost to Alex Corretja in 2003, Kei Nishikori in 2014 and Fabio Fognini in 2005. In 2004, he could not play due to an injury as well as 2010.