'Going out to play vs. Rafael Nadal in an empty stadium is harder...', says ATP ace

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'Going out to play vs. Rafael Nadal in an empty stadium is harder...', says ATP ace

According to former World number one Andy Murray, there have been occasions when he felt that Nole Djokovic was mentally stronger than Rafael Nadal. However, taking into consideration the entire career of the two players, Andy preferred to name the Spaniard.

The Briton’s latest success on the circuit came at last year’s European Open in Antwerp, where he defeated Kimmer Coppejans, Pablo Cuevas, Marius Copil, Ugo Humbert and Stan Wawrinka. Meanwhile, Feliciano Lopez opened up to MARCA about his emotions and excitement after the loss which contributed to Rafael Nadal’s 1000th win.

Having won his 13th Roland Garros title recently, Nadal has a great opportunity to move past Federer’s record of winning 20 Grand Slam titles.

Lopez on Rafael Nadal's greatness

“Yes, because playing against Rafael Nadal for me is always special and even more so now that I’m 39 years old and I value this type of game more.

I keep pushing myself every day to play those games,” Feliciano Lopez said. “I was able to push him to the limit and I felt competitive against the number two in the world and possibly the best ever,” added Lopez.

“That means a lot to me because it gives me the illusion of continuing another year playing tennis. And then there’s the emotional side of being in your 1,000th win. It was a shame to play in an empty stadium,” mentioned Lopez.

He further explained why playing in a fan-less arena is far more difficult for the athletes. “Going out to play against Nadal in an empty stadium is harder than against any other player because these matches are lived with great emotion, the stands are full, the atmosphere is brutal,” he said.

Lopez acknowledged that it’s a dream for any tournament to host the Big-3, and he wanted them to play at Madrid, just like they had in 2019. “What I want is for everyone to be there. Last year there were Rafa, Federer and Djokovic and it was spectacular.

Having all three of them is a dream for any tournament. Not even the ‘Grand Slam’ have had them in recent years,” said Lopez. “I don’t know about Djokovic and Federer’s plans, I do know Rafa’s a bit because for him the gravel season is very important.

He is giving more importance to him in recent years, perhaps because he is getting older, because he selects the tournaments better. As director of the Mutua Madrid Open, if Nadal comes I will be happy with life,” remarked Lopez.