Rafael Nadal is the gladiator of the Coliseum: the Spanish champion has won the Internazionali BNL d'Italia nine times, marking an amazing record of his extraordinary career, as the absolute ruler on clay. The ancient and prestigious tournament on the Rome clay-courts has an important and glorious history, which has lasted since 1930, the year of its first edition won by Bill Tilden.
Rafa won the first title in Rome in 2005 final, beating Guillermo Coria in five sets, with the final score of 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(6).
The following year he defeated Roger Federer at the end of an epic challenge, won with the final score of 6-7, 7-6(5), 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(5), among the great thrill of the crowd. Nadal also won in 2007, beating Fernando González 6-2, 6-2.
He came back to win the title in 2009 and 2010, beating Novak Djokovic (7-6, 6-2) and David Ferrer (7-5, 6-2) respectively. Nadal won the 2012 and 2013 editions against Djokovic (7-5, 6-3) and Federer (6-1, 6-3). A few weeks after that victory Nadal triumphed at the French Open and, a few months later, at the US Open.
He also returned to winning the Italian Open in 2018 and 2019. In 2018 he defeated Alexander Zverev by 6-1,1-6, 6-3 (on a day characterized by horrific weather), while in 2019 he defeated for the third time Djokovic: final score 6-0, 4-6, 6-1.
This is one of the memories of past days as the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the season's suspension over time. The tournament will not be relocated this season, but it will be played directly in 2021, not following the line of other events such as Roland Garros that has been rescheduled for the second half of 2020, after the US Open.