Rafael Nadal cannot complain about the draw that the Barcelona Open 2021 gave him. The 34-year-old Spanish tennis player and current world number three, will try to return to the path of victory in one of his favorite tournaments.
Rafa has already conquered the Count of Godó 11 times and will go for one more next week, trying to regain his sensations after his participation in the Monte Carlo Masters. Although the defeat he suffered in the quarterfinals against Andrey Rublev was not budgeted, the rematch came very soon to the Mallorcan, who, like the other seeded, will have to make his debut in the second round of the event.
Nadal will start his way against the winner of the duel between Frenchman Adrian Mannarino and a player from the 'qualy' Curiously, it is the same panorama that he had in Monte Carlo, but on that occasion Mannarino fell to the Argentine Federico Delbonis who was coming from qualifying.
Once his first obstacle had been overcome, the degree of complexity would increase when he had to cross either the Chilean Cristian Garín (13) or the Japanese Kei Nishikori, who already knows what it is to be champion in Barcelona and did it twice in the editions of 2014 and 2015.
Later, for the quarterfinals, it could be faced if logic prevails either against Belgian David Goffin (8) or Russian Karen Khachanov (12). In the semifinals you could see the faces with the Argentine Diego Schwartzman (4) or his compatriot Pablo Carreño Busta (6), while it would be up to a hypothetical final that could be crossed either with the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas (2) or his executioner in Monte Carlo, the Russian Andrey Rublev (3).
This was the path that the Barcelona Open draw gave the king of brick dust, who arrives as a favorite to win his first title of the season. Andrey Rublev picked up one of the most significant results of his career as he defeated Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals of the Monte Carlo Masters.
The Russian outplayed Nadal on the day, prevailing 6-2 4-6 6-2.
Rublev on his win over Rafael Nadal
After the match, Andrey Rublev claimed that the win was one of the biggest of his career, given Rafael Nadal's stature on clay.
"Rafa is the best player on clay in history, so this is one of the best wins of my career," Rublev said. "On the other side, I know Rafa did not play good (for his standards)." The Russian claimed it was unimaginable how Nadal manages to give his best despite having a mountain of expectations on his shoulders every time he steps on a claycourt.
"I don't even know what to say," Rublev said. "I cannot imagine being in the situation of Rafa, knowing that you are the best player on clay and you have that pressure every time. I think for him it must be incredibly tough every time. I am in shock [with] the way he is playing under this pressure and that is why he is a legend."