Madrid Open: Rafael Nadal is set for his home tournament in the Spanish capital
Rafael Nadal will make his 18th appearance in the Spanish capital as he prepares to claim his sixth title at the Madrid Open and his first since his victory against Dominic Thiem in 2017; the 20-time Grand Slam champion won his 12th title in Barcelona last month
Last Updated: 03/05/21 5:29pm
Rafael Nadal will be aiming to capture his first title in the Spanish capital since 2017 as he enters the Madrid Open fresh from his 12th title run in Barcelona.
Nadal, who first won the event in 2005, heads to Madrid having come through a marathon three-hour, 38-minute Barcelona triumph against Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The 34-year-old feels his confidence is coming back following his success on the Catalonia clay and the Spaniard is excited about playing at home after the tournament was cancelled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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"I am very happy to be back in Madrid, enjoying a week of matches at home. It is going to be even more fans than last week (in Barcelona), so I am so happy to enjoy those feelings," said Nadal.
"Barcelona was such an important week for me as it helped me out to face this and the upcoming weeks with confidence and excitement, so I am hoping to be ready.
"If I win it means that I have done a lot of things well, but if I have to speak about more specific aspects, I think Barcelona it was a step forward for me. I hope to feel that I am playing well, then you can win or lose because it is part of our sport."
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Nadal, a 20-time Grand Slam champion, owns a 52-12 record in Madrid and his mind is already looking towards a sixth title in the Spanish capital.
"Barcelona had been an important week for me of course, but that's past already. So here we are in Madrid. Just trying to practice well every single day," he said.
"It's something I'm quite happy about the preparation, but remains a couple of days for me to start the tournament. So excited about playing at home, with crowd. I always enjoy it here.
"(Madrid) is the most difficult event (on clay) for me, everybody knows. But at the same time (it) is one of the most emotional events for me, playing at home. We (are) going to have a chance to play with a crowd again. So that means a lot to me. (I am) super happy to be back here."