Nadal grants another wish to Madrid

The Spaniard surpasses De Minaur in the Caja Mágica

April 27, 2024

Rafael Nadal celebrates his victory over Alex de Minaur at the Mutua Madrid Open.
By Staff

The welcome at the Manolo Santana Stadium was the prelude to a special afternoon. Under a standing ovation worthy of his legend, the main court of the Mutua Madrid Open welcomed Rafael Nadal with the most powerful weapon: an immense demonstration of affection in the first person. With the cover closed due to the rain, the environment multiplied its effect on the clay. ‘Rafa! Rafa! Rafa!’ roared the stands, full of flags with his name and fans of all generations, united in their admiration for the tournament’s greatest historical champion.

The response on clay, as it could not be otherwise, lived up to the spectacle.

In the last participation of his career at the Caja Mágica, the former world No. 1 went through a test of faith. The memory of the match delivered a week ago in Barcelona did not stop Nadal’s strength, capable of resisting the gaze of Australian Alex de Miñaur 7-6(6), 6-3, one of the top 10 favorites in the draw and one of the best players of the year. Above the result, one of the most brilliant in the last two years, the value of the match was in the price to pay on clay.

The Mallorcan immersed himself in a test of endurance against the Australian, one of the biggest tactical obstacles imaginable at this time. The leg speed of the world No. 11, capable of stretching from the first to the last of the exchanges, appeared like a wall before the Spaniard’s hands. Far from being intimidated by the size of the challenge, Nadal launched himself with the spirit of yesteryear to conquer the match.

“It has been an incredible afternoon,” acknowledged the Spaniard. “Playing here in Madrid with these people is a unique sensation for me. To experience an afternoon like this again means a lot. I can only thank you all for making me feel this way, I have enjoyed it.” a lot”.

That Rafa would opt for victory was clear from the first points. The Spaniard took the first turn from the rest and controlled the scoreboard before breaking out in a sweat, marking a difference with the match a week ago in Barcelona. Far from the labyrinth of dropshots that trapped him in Barcelona, ​​Nadal approached the clash from a direct exchange of blows, accepting the rhythm of the Australian’s balls to compete with the result. Thus, in a first round trip, the Spaniard rowed furiously until the jump-off. A sudden death where he accepted the disappearance of a 6-2 until he stubbornly caught his fifth set point.

The partial control of the scoreboard did not satisfy the hunger of the champion, who hit his rival again at the beginning of the second set. With his body already warm, and supported by the encouragement of the public, Nadal never allowed De Minaur to equalize the score again, intelligently retaining an advantage that elevated him to victory.

“I have reached a good level of tennis, I think I have done positive things. I am very happy to have been able to be competitive against a great player like Alex. The atmosphere has been crazy and I can’t thank the fans enough for their love.”

An atmosphere of gratitude accompanied Nadal on his way to the locker room, closing an afternoon of raw emotions in the Spanish capital. With one of the most vibrant victories that are remembered of him, the Mallorcan underlined one of the hallmarks that have accompanied him throughout his career: an infinitive ability to defy logic and surprise those who observe him.

Above all, Nadal opened the doors of a new opportunity. That of continuing to tan the body with minutes of competition and the soul with the sensations that took it to the top. This Monday, with an entire city behind him, the Spaniard will measure his shots against the Argentine Pedro Cachín. An unmissable event inside the Caja Mágica.

In Madrid, where Nadal writes an epilogue to his legend, the pen once again entered the inkwell.


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