Nadal In Barcelona: ‘What Has Happened Has Happened’
Rafael Nadal walked away from the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters last week without playing in the ATP Masters 1000 final for the first time since 2015. But the Spaniard, who lost to eventual champion Fabio Fognini in the semi-finals, is ready to put the upset behind him.
“My personal opinion is that I played one of the worst matches on clay. It’s a reality. There is no need to hide it. I do not see the benefit of wanting to deny it,” Nadal said on Monday after playing mini tennis with Kei Nishikori at the Palau de la Música Catalana. “What has happened has happened.”
The 32-year-old was playing in his first tournament since March’s BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells. On 15 March, Nadal beat Karen Khachanov in the quarter-finals but the Spaniard had to withdraw from his semi-final against Roger Federer.
This week, Nadal is the top seed at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell and is going for his 12th title at the ATP 500 event.
“In Monte-Carlo, I took a step forward with how I was a week before. I lost a good opportunity to start the season in a fantastic way. But now I’m going to have another one,” he said.
“This is a very special tournament that is part of the history of tennis and of my own. I have another morning to practice, and we will see how we are doing. On a physical level, I’m more or less well.”
Nadal is 58-3 at the event and won his 11th Barcelona title – and third straight – last year. The World No. 2 even has his own court – Pista Rafa Nadal – at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona-1899, the oldest Spanish tennis club.
“It is true that I have not won any titles, but I reached the final in Australia, semi-finals in Indian Wells and now semi-finals again in Monte-Carlo. The year is not bad and I’m third in the [ATP Race To London], but with more problems than I would have liked,” Nadal said.
“The job is to find myself. During the last 18 months, I have had too many stops and ups and downs, non-tennis related. And when that happens, it’s hard to pick up rhythm and continuity. But it is true that it has happened so many times, and that after things go well… everything that happened seems to be forgotten. I hope to be ready to play well. And if it is not here, it will be in Madrid, in Rome or at Roland Garros.”
Nadal will open against Argentine Leonardo Mayer, a 6-3, 6-7(5), 7-5 winner against Romanian Marius Copil. Nadal could earn a rematch against Fognini if both reach the Barcelona final.