In Barcelona, Rafael Nadal proved once again that he is the king of clay by beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in an epic final, which lasted three hours and thirty-eight minutes. The goal of the Spanish champion is to arrive in the best possible shape at Roland Garros to become the player with the most Slam tournaments won in his career and to knock Roger Federer off.
Nadal has won Roland Garros thirteen times in his career and his numbers on Parisian soil are impressive. The Majorcan has in fact lost only two matches on the pitch in Paris, thus excluding the retirement in the third round in 2016.
The only two players who, for the moment, can say they defeated Nadal at Roland Garros are Robin Soderling and Novak Djokovic. The former managed to play an incredible tournament and eliminate the 20-time Grand Slam champion in the round of 16; the second imposed himself with a clear 7-5, 6-3, 6-1 in 2015, also taking advantage of the non-optimal condition of his opponent.
Feliciano Lopez recently lavished rich praise on compatriot Rafael Nadal, particularly highlighting how he is producing his best tennis despite being well into his 30s.
Lopez talks about Rafael Nadal
"Age does not forgive, but Rafael Nadal has the ability to continue with 34 years at a high level, physically and mentally to continue winning," Feliciano Lopez stated.
"It is very complicated when you are that age you cannot think how many more years you are going to play if you do not think about playing that year to the fullest," Lopez said. During the interview, Feliciano Lopez was also probed about the withdrawals of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer from the Madrid Masters.
"We expected Federer's thing (but) Djokovic's is a little more surprising, but the calendar is what it is," Lopez said. "You have to accept that there will be some player who does not want to come."
If compared to other clay-court ATP 1000 Masters tournaments, Mutua Madrid Open is fairly new. Started in the early 2000s, the tournament has seen a drastic rise in its stature. In 2009, with the investment from Romanian billionaire, Ion Tiriac, the tournament saw an expansion and moved to a state-of-the-art stadium named Caja Magica.
Caja Magica or Magic Box in Spanish is a unique venue because of its construction. As the name suggests, the arena looks like a stylish box. It was opened in 2009 and its construction cost around $294 million. The owner of the stadium is the City Council of Madrid.