Almost two years have passed since his last match on clay (the 2019 Roland Garros semi-final lost to Nadal). An eternity. But the fleetingness of time also lies in this, in knowing how to wait for the right moment. That moment seems to have arrived (conditional obligation): Roger Federer is on the entry list of participants in the Madrid Open (2-9 May), together with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
This could be the first time the Big Three will find themselves in a single tournament, almost a year and a half after the last time, the Australian Open 2020. The entry list, if confirmed, would see Federer return to play a circuit match on a surface that last saw him excel in 2015 in Istanbul, while the last triumph in a Masters 1000 on clay is in 2012, watch case in Madrid.
We said mandatory conditional, because the mandatory tournament status means that all the first 45 players of the ATP ranking are automatically registered. The presence of Federer therefore, as well as that of Djokovic (who according to the Serbian media should skip the Spanish stage on red and play only the tournament in Rome) remains in doubt.
There should be no reservations about the presence of home hero Rafa Nadal, who has triumphed five times in Madrid. Also on the list are Daniil Medvedev, Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev, with Andrey Rublev, Diego Schwartzman and Matteo Berrettini completing the list of the top ten in the ATP ranking.
Some of Roland Garros' professional photographers over the years were featured by the tournament recently, where they talked about capturing the likes of Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer on the terre-battue.
Fans have really high expectations from Rafael Nadal
"It was September instead of the traditional May/June, and we were aware of how lucky we were to be there and to be part of this historic edition," Emilie Hautier said.
Hautier was then asked which player was the best to photograph, and he took that opportunity to shower immense praise on Rafael Nadal - who won the 2020 edition. "Rafael Nadal is truly the most awe-inspiring to photograph," Hatier said.
"He is the pure embodiment of strength, very visual." Even though Rafa hasn’t played a professional match since the Australian Open 2021, he’ll begin his clay-court campaign soon. Fans have really high expectations from him and believe that he can surely surpass Roger Federer in the Grand Slam tally this year. Will Nadal be able to defend his title at the French Open this year?