Despite having won the title five times, the Mutua Madrid Open is the least suited to Rafael Nadal’s characteristics among the tournaments held on clay. The latest success of the Spanish phenomenon dates back to the 2017 edition, although it should be remembered that the 2020 edition was skipped due to the global pandemic. The 20-time Grand Slam champion began his journey very well by giving a sound lesson to his compatriot Carlos Alcaraz, to whom he did not discount the Caja Magica power plant. During the traditional press conference that precedes the start of the Masters 1000, the Majorcan had the opportunity to celebrate the epic semi-final against Novak Djokovic staged right here in 2009. It was the first year that the event took place on clay. , since until then he had always held on to concrete. Rafa and Nole gave life to one of the most electrifying and intense matches that they remember best of three sets, which ended in favor of the Iberian after four hours and three minutes. Exhausted from that battle, Nadal would surrender to Roger Federer the next day.
Rafael Nadal recalls the epic battle in Madrid
“It’s just that I was with quite a lot of problems in the knee,” Rafael Nadal said. “But in the end, good being able to play at home. It was a nice experience.” Nadal praised Djokovic for his role in the legendary match, where the Spaniard eventually prevailed 3–6, 7–6(5), 7–6(9) after four hours and three minutes. “I think it went well and I could come and play the game for four hours,” Nadal said. “I remember the semifinal match against Novak was very exciting, [really] good at the end. I don’t know if it was a setback, he generally plays here at a very good level. Madrid is an atmosphere always in the positive. I think that the people of Madrid are very sociable,” the Spaniard said. Rafael Nadal then claimed that although the city has every luxury to offer, the natives still like to follow their own unique interests wherever they can find them. “They want to do things apart from Madrid, on their own. Even though it is a beautiful city,” Nadal quipped. Rafael Nadal opened his 2021 Mutua Madrid Open campaign with a commanding 6-1, 6-2 win over 18-year-old compatriot Carlos Alcaraz Garfia on Wednesday. Nadal, who is in pursuit of a sixth crown at his home event, needed very little time to find his stride; he looked very comfortable in the conditions throughout the match. He now faces the challenge of another fast-rising youngster in Alexei Popyrin on Thursday.