The 20-time Major champion Rafael Nadal had trained with Lorenzo Sonego, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Emil Ruusuvuori and the fellow Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut at home in Mallorca in the last couple of weeks. Nadal made the finishing touches ahead of the Adelaide trip on an indoor court with Bautista Agut, experiencing high-intensity training sessions and preparing for the upcoming ATP Cup, where they should leave Spain, like in 2020.
Bautista Agut's coach Jose Vendrell said they were delighted with the way Rafa welcomed them in Mallorca. Two great players shared the court and exchanged numerous baseline rallies, well worth a Major quarter-final. Praising Nadal, Vendrell believes he would always raise your game if you get a chance to practice with him, reminding everyone how serious and intense those sessions are.
Nadal arrived in Adelaide for his two-week quarantine ahead of Melbourne gathering with the rest of the Spanish squad, joining forces while seeking the first ATP Cup title. Roberto Bautista Agut scored six wins for Spain at the last year's ATP Cup and missed a massive chance of entering the Masters 1000 final, as he served for the win against Novak Djokovic in Cincinnati.
The older Spaniard completed his 12th season inside the top-2 and claimed the 20th Major crown at Roland Garros, beating Novak Djokovic in the final to enter the record books, hoping for more of the same in 2021.
Roberto Bautista Agut's coach praised Rafael Nadal.
"Rafa raises your level in every aspect.
He sets the bar high, and you have to bring high intensity to practice with him. Those couple of days helped both Rafa and Roberto; they had high-quality practice sessions. Against Rafa, there is no margin for errors; you make a little one, and he will take the advantage.
Every point requires a lot of intensity; you have to start it aggressively and prepare the defense when he counterattacks. Nadal raises the level of your physical and mental strength and your game in general. It is like a centrifuge; Rafa takes you out of your comfort zone, leaves you with almost no weapons and demands your best to stay in touch with him.
I don't think there's much difference between how Nadal and Bautista Agut train and compete. It's intensive and serious level, and they are both very involved. Training with Bautista Agut drew positive things to Nadal as well, as he had to bring his best to practice with the rival of that quality and intensity.
Nadal and his team were very nice to us and treated us wonderfully. It is a place where you can breathe tennis, ideal for preparing. It is a reference center. If you are lucky enough to train with Rafa as we have, that brings pure delight," Jose Vendrell said.