Rafael Nadal clinched his 12th title in Barcelona on Sunday, beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final to crown a titanic battle to the last point. The Spanish phenomenon imposed itself thanks to the score of 6-4 6-7 (6) 7-5 after having canceled a match point in the third set, also helped by a bit of good luck. Yet another triumph in Catalonia allowed him to take revenge on the Greek – who had defeated him in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open 2021 – and to overtake Daniil Medvedev again in second place in the ATP ranking. The young Russian tested positive for COVID-19 on the eve of the Masters 1000 in Monte Carlo, an unfortunate coincidence that made everything easier for the 20-time Grand Slam champion. Speaking to the media after his success in Barcelona, the 34-year-old from Manacor said he could still improve a lot on clay. In fact, Rafa was forced into the decisive set by both the Belarusian Ivashka on his debut and a revived Kei Nishikori. The Iberian’s goal is to reach 100% when Roland Garros starts.
Rafael Nadal won his 12th title in Barcelona
“I think I have been able to play better and better during the whole week [in] every single match and today was a little bit better than yesterday,” Rafael Nadal said. “I have room to keep improving. I was not perfect.” Rafael Nadal also expressed hope that his hard-fought victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas will help him find the higher gear he knows he can attain on clay. “I really believe that I can play better than what I am doing on clay and I really hope that the victory of today is going to help me to raise a little bit [my] level that I need today to fight for the next couple of events that I am going to play,” he added. “He is a player that plays with a lot of passion,” Nadal said. “He is young. He feels the sport. He has the talent and the motivation to be better and better, so it is normal that he is improving in all aspects of his game. He is one of the candidates to win every single tournament that he is playing. It is true that I had a great team and a great family next to me that has been so important for holding the passion and the motivation and [they have] helped me in the low moments,” Nadal continued. “I am super happy to be where I am today. It is an important achievement for me and an achievement at the right moment of the season.”