Rafa Nadal training at the #MMOPEN

Antonio Arenas Men's Tennis, Mutua News, Tennis

Rafa Nadal is now in the Caja Mágica preparing for his assault on a sixth Mutua Madrid Open crown. The Spaniard, who will be the first seed in the capital of tennis, has a two hour session on court 13 together with Jaume Munar, a finalist earlier this month at the ATP 250 in Marbella and one of the tournament’s invites to the main draw.

The Spaniard will also have a training session on the same court at four in the afternoon, as he continues to adapt to the Caja Mágica conditions. The current world number two arrives here after winning his twelfth title at the ATP 500 in Barcelona, where he claimed a hard-fought win in the final over Monte Carlos champion Stefanos Tsitsipas, 6-4, 6-7(6), 7-5.

Excited to get out on the Manolo Santana court, Nadal said in a very special virtual chat with the #MMOPEN that “Madrid is unique. I’ve always had a unique feeling playing in Madrid. I think that this year it will be more than ever. Although there is going to be 40% capacity, compared with what we have been seeing it will be incredible. Let’s hope the crowd are as excited to cheer us on as we are to play.”

The Mallorcan has made the most of the support from the stands in previous years, as demonstrated by his five trophies from the only Masters 1000 played in Spain: 2005 (still on hard court), 2010, 2013, 2014 and 2017. This year will be even more special, as he and Fernando Verdasco will have appeared at the tournament more times than any other player (18), surpassing the record set by #MMOPEN director Feliciano López.

Nadal arrived in the capital yesterday and complied with all the health protocols in order to be able to train today under the watchful eye of his coach Carlos Moyà. The Manacor native has played more finals than anyone in Madrid with a total of eight, of which he has lost just three (Federer in 2009, Djokovic in 2011 and Andy Murray in 2015). He is also the only man to successfully defend his title here (2013 and 2014).