Five-time Caja Mágica champion Rafael Nadal will have to wait until next year to pursue the first Madrid Open crown since 2017. The home favorite suffered defeat in the quarterfinals at home's Masters 1000 on last Friday, playing well below his best level.
and experience a 6-4, 6-4 loss to Alexander Zverev. The German had the upper hand on the pitch, determined to beat Rafa for the third time in a row and the first time on the slowest surface. At the press conference, Nadal claimed that he made a good start and opened a 4-2 lead before playing a disastrous match that could have pushed him up 5-2.
Staying calm, Alexander retired the break in that seventh game and fended off a break opportunity in the next to level the score at 4-4. Rafa blew one game point in the next and suffered another break, losing ground entirely and allowing Alexander to claim the set in the 10th game.
With nothing in his way, Nadal couldn't find a way to push his opponent out of the comfort zone in set number two, struggling to stay in touch with Zverev and losing serve at 2-2 to propel the opponent over the line. goal and in the last four.
"It is always a balance between your poor tennis and the high level of the opponent. But, yes, of course, he was more the second than the first. Initially I had the game under control, I played well in the first six games and probably better than Alexander.
Serving 5-2, I made a mess and played another terrible 30-0 to 4-4 service game. It was not easy for me to maintain confidence after that, not in these conditions and against the opponent above."
Rafael Nadal said that he is no longer a young man
While speaking to the media on Tuesday ahead of the start of his Italian Open campaign, Rafael Nadal discussed a variety of topics - right from his current form to his schedule for the rest of the year.
On the subject of the latter, the Spaniard revealed that he is not sure whether he'll be a part of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics given the travel and quarantine restrictions in place all over the world. "The reality is that we've been in a pandemic for more than a year and the only thing I'm saying is that decisions are taken more short-term than long-term," Nadal said.
:Nowadays, I don't make my calendar 6 months in advance, but just some weeks in advance." Rafael Nadal also conceded that he is no longer a young man, and that he needs to plan his workload based on his body's reaction to the rigors of the tour.
"Then, depending on how things evolve one way or another, and also taking into account that I'm almost 35 years old, I take decisions based on what my body and mind demand from me at each moment," Nadal said.