Rafael Nadal had not started the season in an ideal way, also due to an annoying back problem that had limited him in the first months of the year. After the quarter-finals reached at the Australian Open, the Spanish phenomenon opted for a long break until the Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo.
His run in the Principality had already stopped in the quarterfinals in front of a wild Andrey Rublev, good at resisting the comeback attempt of the 20 times Grand Slam champion. The 34-year-old Majorcan didn't start well even in Barcelona, where both Ivashka and Nishikori managed to snatch a set from him in the first two rounds.
The performance of the former world number 1 has risen exponentially with the passing of the days, until the last act against a Stefanos Tsitsipas in excellent shape. The challenge between the two soon turned into an incredible battle, even if the quality was not that of the best days.
Rafa won it in the third set, after canceling a match in the tenth game of the decisive set, facilitated by a pinch of good luck. Speaking to journalists on the eve of the Mutua Madrid Open, the number 2 ATP is back on the tough marathon with Tsitsipas in the prestigious Catalan '500'
Nadal on his triumph in Barcelona
Rafael Nadal said that he hadn’t played much tennis barring the Australian Open and that explained his struggles to find his bearings on clay at Monte-Carlo. Reflecting on the Barcelona final, Nadal said, “It was a match of 2, 3 hours (and) 40 minutes against a good opponent.
I didn’t play much tennis for one year, I lost in Monte-Carlo, I suffered at the beginning of this (Barcelona Open) tournament”. He added that though he struggled to find his best claycourt game, it was his mental strength that carried him to the title in Catalunya.
“I worked hard, I think, mentally to keep going and I won an important event for me,” the Spaniard said on his win against Tsitsipas. “(It) has been an important moment for me and in some way where you’re not playing that often, was only my third event of the year and last year I didn’t play much, so the feeling to win again and win a match like this is always positive,” Nadal said.
The situation is getting too overwrought as the tennis world approaches French Open 2021. By postponing it for a week, the clay-court Grand Slam event upset the calendar of many players. Now, to compensate for the delay, Sports Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer has revealed some good news.
Earlier, the officials reasoned that the postponement would help them bring more live spectators. Now, the numbers are released, and they look more than convincing.