Time also passes for an absolute legend like Rafael Nadal. The Spanish phenomenon left the stage in the quarter-finals of the Mutua Madrid Open, defeated without appeal by an excellent Alexander Zverev on the Central Court of the Caja Magica.
The former world number 1, who was chasing his sixth title in the Iberian capital, paid for a subdued performance and a poor service performance, gaps that had already emerged during the match with Andrey Rublev in Monte Carlo a few weeks ago.
The German played a solid game, archiving the practice thanks to the score of 6-4 6-4 and beating the Majorcan on his favorite surface for the first time. The only triumph of the 34-year-old from Manacor therefore remains the one in Barcelona, having canceled a match point for Stefanos Tsitsipas in the last act.
Certainly not the ideal approach to Roland Garros. The BNL Internationals of Italy will be important to test Rafa's form in conditions much more similar to those of Paris. In a press conference following the elimination in Madrid, Nadal admitted that he had performed insufficiently to take home the victory.
Rafael Nadal after his loss against Zverev
“I feel like I’ve been taking steps forward, but when you go up a ladder, you can take a step back and I think that’s the way it has been today. Things started the same as in the previous games but, at the moment of truth in the moments in which I had to define the set, I did everything wrong making several mistakes,” said Rafael Nadal in the interview.
“Playing against someone like Zverev, who puts you in trouble by taking out at 220km/ h, I have to hit the ball six meters from the line, even so, I hit him high over the shoulder and that is why I only need to give the maximum level.
Zverev is a good player and I congratulate him on the victory… I have been inferior,” added the 20-time Grand Slam winner. Rafa admitted that he was feeling sad as he missed an opportunity to win his sixth title in Madrid.
He also talked about his next goal before the French Open 2021- to win the Italian Open 2021. “Sad about the defeat because it was an opportunity for me wasted and I will work to continue giving me another next week. The trend of the land tour is ascending and now we will see what happens because the goal before Roland Garros is winning in Rome,” concluded the Spaniard.