Rafael Nadal won his first title of the season last week in Barcelona, thus redeeming the misstep in Monte Carlo that had raised some concern among his fans. The Spanish phenomenon will be the first seeded in Madrid, where the second Masters 1000 on clay will be staged.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion benefited from Novak Djokovic’s forfeit at the Caja Magica, a surprising absence as tournament director Feliciano Lopez also admitted. The Iberian and the Serbian will once again start favorites at Roland Garros, which will start a week late due to the complex health situation in France.
The Majorcan will try to win his 14th trophy in Paris, while the number 1 ATP wants to avenge the blow he suffered in the final of the last edition. Nadal fans will surely know his huge passion for football, being a big fan of Real Madrid.
Although he is almost always busy traveling around the world, the 34-year-old from Manacor tries to follow the games of the 'Blancos' consistently. Rafa could also be involved in the inauguration of the new Santiago Bernabeu in early 2022.
Rafael Nadal on his passion for soccer
"I would like both (Haaland and Mbappe) of them," Rafael Nadal said. "To be honest, they are both going well (in Real Madrid setup) for me." Nadal, on his part, believes that Sevilla are firmly in the conversation despite being outside the top 3.
"It's (the La Liga title race) exciting," Rafael Nadal added. "There are four teams to win La Liga. Sevilla have joined the equation, that's the reality." FC Barcelona were recently dealt a crushing blow in their pursuit of a 27th La Liga title.
The Ronald Koeman-led side succumbed to a 1-2 defeat at home against Granada, leaving them two points adrift of league leaders Atletico Madrid. "I don't like to say that someone loses," Nadal said. "You win.
You always have to give credit to the one who wins." 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.