Nadal pushes himself to come back in Rome

The Spaniard survives Bergs in his premiere at the Foro Italico

May 09, 2024

Peter Staples/ATP Tour

By Staff

Rafael Nadal needs to test himself and the stage seems perfect at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. After joining forces on the clay of Barcelona and Madrid, the Spaniard began his path within the walls of the Foro Italico in Rome, where he hopes to take another step in his competitive evolution. The 10-time champion overcame a demanding debut and underlined a very clear message: he seems willing to resist with increasing strength in the face of obstacles.

The former world No. 1 survived in a match full of pride, defeating Belgian Zizou Bergs 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in two hours and 47 minutes of effort on the clay of the Campo Centrale. Faced with a rival he had never faced before, the Spaniard had enough patience to redirect a match full of curves, with the support of the Italian public as an intense backdrop.

“It was not my best match, I have trained at a higher level in training but I have found a way to win, that is very important for me at the beginning of the tournament,” acknowledged the Spaniard. “As I have been saying, my game is more unpredictable than before. But I haven’t played much tennis in the last two years, so it’s normal for some ups and downs to appear. “I’m sure I can do much better and hopefully I can do it in the next round.”

Nadal seeks to take a step forward in Rome compared to Madrid, where he pushed himself with all his might until reaching the fourth round. On the clay of the Caja Mágica, the Mallorcan faced tough challenges, competing on consecutive days and resolving a match that lasted more than three hours, two unprecedented situations since his return to the competition. In the Italian capital he added an additional level: coming back a game after losing the first set, something he had not achieved in the entire 2024 season.

“It was a difficult match. I think the match had started well for me, with 3-1 30/0, comfortable and playing well. I played a very bad game and since then there have been 20 minutes of many doubts, I have not I managed to play calmly. But I’m happy because I found a way to win afterwards, this is very important today for confidence and because I managed to play for almost three hours and I feel good. I have the possibility to play again in a while. two days”.

Now, the clay court of the Foro Italico will put Nadal before a litmus test, where ball speed will be an enormous subject in each shot. In the second round of the tournament, the Spaniard will face Polish world No. 9 Hubert Hurkacz, an unprecedented opponent in his career and one of the most respected servers in the locker room. If reflexes and explosiveness of legs are a terrain for the Spaniard to conquer, his next match on the clay of Rome has ingredients to test them from start to finish.

Nadal’s demanding debut marked a new chapter of his greatness in Rome. The Spaniard scored his 70th victory on the clay of the Foro Italico, one of the most special stages on the circuit. After competing in Barcelona and Madrid, with the outcome of Roland Garros on the horizon, Rafa wants to enjoy every step taken in the Roman tournament.

“It is always exciting to play these types of tournaments, they are the most important events of my sporting career,” the Mallorcan highlighted once again before the affection of a crowd that packed the Campo Centrale to cheer him on his debut. “The stands have always been incredible with me, supporting me from my beginnings. “I am very excited to play here again.”

Did you know…?
Rafael Nadal has never lost two consecutive matches on clay in his entire sporting career, displaying absolute dominance on the surface. The Spaniard, the top historical champion of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia with 10 individual crowns, has accumulated a balance of 479-47 on this type of court.


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