Nadal working hard to be ready for Barcelona return

12-time champion has been practising at Real Club Tenis Barcelona for three days
April 12, 2024
Rafael Nadal hard at work in Barcelona Friday, intent on making his 2024 clay-court debut next week at the ATP 500.
Pedro Salado/Real Club Tennis Barcelona
Rafael Nadal hard at work in Barcelona Friday, intent on making his 2024 clay-court debut next week at the ATP 500. By Javier Mendez,

Nobody can say Rafael Nadal hasn’t done everything in his power to be ready for this year’s Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, which takes place from 15 to 21 April. If he doesn’t make it, it will not be for a lack of trying.

On Friday, the Spaniard practised on the courts of Real Club Tenis de Barcelona-1899, the venue for the ATP 500 on clay. He was doing so for the third consecutive day in a bid to have a chance of competing for the 17th time in one of the four tournaments he has won the most in his career.

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Nadal arrived at the court wearing a red, sleeveless t-shirt (which he later changed) and white trousers with his name on them at 11 in the morning to practise with his compatriot Alejandro Davidovich Fokina.

In the scorching heat, the Balearic Islander tested himself for a little over two hours, carrying out various exercises and even played a set.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion was in the company of his coaching staff, Carlos Moyà, Marc López and Gustavo Marcaccio, at all times. His physio Rafael Maymó, his manager Carlos Costa and the doctor Ángel Ruiz-Cotorro were also by his side.

Despite not having played at the ATP Masters 1000s in Indian Wells, Miami or Monte Carlo, which were all part of his plans at the start of the season, the Spaniard is still training on the clay of Barcelona to find a level that will allow him to return to competition.


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On Friday afternoon he was practising again, this time on court No. 18 of Real Club de Tenis Barcelona-1899, as he continued to work on various parts of his game with Moyà and López on the other side of the net.

“Excited to be here for a few days before the start of the tournament. I’m here to see how it goes... can’t wait to try and play. I’ll let you know. Important to say that I don’t want to confirm I’ll be playing, but I hope so. We’ll see,” he announced after his first training session on Wednesday.

Since then, Nadal has not stopped grinding on the clay. His goal is to fill one of the 64 spaces in the draw, which will be made on Saturday. Only time will tell, and if it’s not to be, it will certainly not be for a lack of trying.

Nadal boasts a 66-4 match record in Barcelona, where the stadium court is named after him. The home favourite first lifted the trophy in 2005 and most recently in 2021.

The former No. 1 in the PIF ATP Rankings' lone tournament of 2024 came in January at the ATP 250 in Brisbane, where he reached the quarter-finals. He withdrew from this week's Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters with an abdominal issue.


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