Nadal: “It wasn’t today where I had to leave everything and die”

The Spaniard speaks openly about his intentions on this dirt tour

April 17, 2024

Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell

Rafael Nadal during his second round match against Alex de Minaur.
By Staff

Rafael Nadal accepts that the hands of the clock speed up his stay on the ATP Tour. It is the law of life. Time passes for everyone without exception. Of course, the Spaniard has one last wish in his award-winning career: to be able to further extend his hallmark on the professional circuit and say goodbye with honor on the track, the territory where he has written his legend.

One of those stages, in which his name has accompanied success time and again, has been the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, where he has lifted the crown twelve times.

“I think I have been lucky enough to write a nice story in this tournament. I suppose others will come and be able to overcome it. I have the peace of mind that I have always given everything. I am aware that everything has a beginning and an end. It’s no drama. It is simply logical that there is a little more sadness for surely not being able to play at a professional level again in this tournament,” he explained openly, after losing to Alex de Miñaur in the second round.

After 103 days without competing, each step is a mystery. And it was no less in Barcelona, ​​a tournament where he returned to the clay 681 days after his last match on the surface. A victory – against Flavio Cobolli – and a defeat – against De Minaur – was the balance of his participation in the tournament.

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“Life is showing me the path in a very clear way. “I have played this tournament as if it were my last Godó,” he stated without hesitation. “For me it has already been very nice to be able to play. A week ago I thought it wouldn’t be possible. I have played two games. On a personal level, I would say that I am feeling stronger. Although I lost the second set 6-1 the way I lost it, it is what had to happen today. I leave convinced that I have taken a step forward, and we will see what happens.”

Since he landed in Barcelona last Wednesday, he put all his dedication and effort into being, at least, on the track in the first round. “Today, the main thing is not to win but to come out of the tournament healthy, more than anything else. This has happened,” he noted.

“Obviously sometimes it is difficult to play when you know that you are not going to be able to maybe fight the whole game. In a few weeks, it may be. But today, after everything I’ve been going through in recent months, is not the time to look for heroics. It is time to be realistic, look for things in the most prudent and logical way possible. The reality is that this is how it is. “Once the first set is lost, the match is over,” he analyzed about the match against De Miñaur.

Nadal’s words contain a share of logical disappointment at the defeat, prudence for what the near future will bring and a certain optimism, if his health allows it, for the next events on the calendar. The closest at the Mutua Madrid Open.

“I have to act in Madrid depending on how I feel. If I manage to accumulate a week of training in Madrid with high-level people, if I can play sets daily, if my body gets used to that level of competition and I feel that I am prepared, then I will be able to take a step forward,” he indicated.

“If my body can progressively take on the load, it has to help me week after week to be able to try to push myself more. I hope it can be like that. But this is the reality. On a logical level it would be to go in a progression, to try to take one more step in Madrid. Not at the match level, as this is determined by the competition. I have played very little. But at the level of being able to fight for it, in Madrid a little more, in Rome a little more. In Paris, then let it be what God wants. If you have to try it, that’s the time. Whatever happens, there it is,” he confessed about his future intentions.

The path is marked. Only fate will tell how far, but if one thing is clear, it is that Nadal will never be able to reproach himself for not trying to reach the end on his feet.


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