Rafa Nadal Open Looks To The Future On ATP Challenger Tour
In one month, the Rafa Nadal Open Banc Sabadell will make its debut on the ATP Challenger Tour. With an eye towards the future, the tournament arrives with the hope of becoming a staple on the circuit for years to come.
Last week, the World No. 1 attended a press conference at the Rafa Nadal Academy, where the vision of the tournament was laid out. The pillars of the event, to be held from August 28 to September 2 in Mallorca, were presented as the hard-court tournament looks to become a critical stepping stone in players' journeys to the ATP World Tour.
"We have been working towards this for many years," Nadal said. "We are organising different types of events: the Spanish Championships, some Futures and Senior tournaments, but the organisation of a Challenger is one more step towards the growth that we want to take. On a personal level, it is a great satisfaction to see that things are going the way we wanted."
In a season where the Spanish Tennis Federation will organise up to six tournaments on the ATP Challenger Tour, Nadal hopes his event will contribute to this trend of growth and development. He believes the €43,000 event will provide a strong foundation in his country.
"It's an important step towards the future of our tennis," Nadal added. "It is true that we have had a generation of very important tennis players, but it is also true that we have been a little stuck for a few years. We have to unite together to get back on track with new successful generations of tennis players. The organisation of Challengers, which have become more numerous in our country, is a very important benefit to the young Spaniards who can play tournaments of the highest level on their path to the Top 100 and beyond."
This week marks the 15th anniversary of Nadal's victory on home soil in Segovia. It was his second Challenger crown and served as a catalyst to stardom for the future World No. 1.
"The 'Challenger' is an important word because it is the second-biggest tour at the highest level of our sport. Without exception, we have all gone through the Challenger Tour. It is a special level in which you can see witness the growth and maturity of our young players, who probably in a short time we can see on TV at the tour-level. They are the future stars of the sport.
"At the same time, players who come back from injuries can use the Challengers as a very important part of their sporting life. It's the closest event to the ATP World Tour. My experience when I played Challengers was good. I was lucky to compete for half a year before becoming a professional. They are tournaments that are of a high level and I enjoyed them all."
The inaugural Rafa Nadal Open Banc Sabadell will begin on August 26.