Rafael Nadal's shares honest POV: "The time has come to push me to the limit"

The Spanish champion analyzed the victory in the first round of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia

by Lorenzo Ciotti
Rafael Nadal's shares honest POV: "The time has come to push me to the limit"
© Mike Hewitt / Staff Getty Images Sport

In the first round of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, Rafael Nadal still showed some physical limitations in the match he won in three sets against Zizou Bergs. The Spaniard wasn't convincing from a gaming point of view, but he still found a way to win the match and give himself what will be an important test with Hubert Hurkacz, in the second round.
And Nadal was very clear at the press conference. All the efforts made to get back up after yet another injury have been completed in order to have the opportunity to push himself beyond all limits at the Roland Garros. This is why he continues to compete and why he reached Rome for the Internazionali BNL d'Italia.

"Today was not a good match for me. I didn't play the way I think I can play. I was able to find a way to win and this gives me a chance to play here again. I can play better than today. Obviously the improvement is important: the biggest one is still being able to play. In Barcelona I wasn't sure I would play. Now I'm serving better, I feel faster. Sometimes I play too far from the baseline and that's something I have to change. Even though I didn't play well, I was surprised, I have to accept that my level can fluctuate. I have to find stability, a match like this helps you. I feel close to showing something much more positive than the first games in Barcelona. I feel close, and that's why I'm playing. I can do much better than today and I hope to do so. However, I am very happy with the victory," he told.

Rafael Nadal, Rome 2024
Rafael Nadal, Rome 2024© Dan Istitene / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Talking about his recovery journey, the 22-time Slam champion then said: "It's hard, I did things step by step trying to improve slowly. It's not easy and not just because of the defeats, but because of the sensations I felt with some shots. .
It's about adapting my body and muscles to the hip problem. I've made some progress in the last few weeks. It's time to give it a try and if something happens, something happens. I have to understand if I can adapt to new problems.
Now I'm in Rome and the time has come to understand if I can push my body to the limit, give everything and be ready for the Roland Garros. If something bad happens, I will accept it,” he analyzed.

Rafael Nadal & Zizou Bergs, Rome 2024
Rafael Nadal & Zizou Bergs, Rome 2024© Mike Hewitt / Staff - Getty Images Sport

And the victory meanwhile allowed him to rewrite the history of the Italian Open

Rafael Nadal's return to Rome was historic. In a magical atmosphere, the Spanish champion inflamed the Central Court of the Foro Italico for what could be the one of the last time in his career, flooded by the warmth and support of the crowd present. At 37, Nadal struggled tremendously against the commendable Bergs, who played by far the best match of his career, but in the end Rafa prevailed, prevailing after almost three hours of play with a score of 4-6 6-3 6-4. At the end of the match, the Majorcan champion let out a celebration that means a lot, almost seeming to want to shout like: I don't want to give up yet. A special victory, which gives the Spanish tennis player a further record that adds to the already very long list of career firsts.

Rafael Nadal, Rome 2024
Rafael Nadal, Rome 2024© Mike Hewitt / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Nadal became the first player in history to win 70 matches in two Masters 1000 tournaments: 73 victories in Monte Carlo, while those in the Italian capital became 70. The victory against Bergs allows the Spanish champion to move up the rankings again. Starting at the beginning of 2024, after a year without taking the court, from position 664, Nadal returned to the top 300, settling in 272nd place. Now, however, the mission becomes much more complicated, because the next opponent will be the Polish Hubert Hurkacz. In case of success against the number 8 of the ATP ranking it would allow the Spaniard to get even closer to the top 250. One step after another, to get ready for the last dance in Paris.

Rafael Nadal Internazionali Bnl