Nadal commits to Barcelona in packed clay-court schedule
The Spaniard will return to Barcelona for the 16th time in his career as he builds towards Roland-Garros
Rafael Nadal may have been biding his time since the Australian Open as he recovers from a niggling lower back injury but the Spaniard looks like he will be a busy man this spring as he builds towards trying to win a record 21st Grand Slam title at Roland-Garros.
The world No 3, who turns 35 in June, was confirmed in the field for the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, which will take place from April 17-25. Nadal has won the title in Barcelona on 11 occasions, nine times going on to add the title at Roland-Garros.
🎾 VUELVE RAFA 💪
🤩 ¡Qué ganas de volver a disfrutar de tu tenis en Barcelona, RAFA!
— Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell (@bcnopenbs) March 22, 2021
The news means that Nadal is likely to play in the four biggest clay-court tournaments leading into Paris; the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, Barcelona and the two Masters 1000s in Madrid and Rome before chasing a record 14th Roland-Garros title in the French capital.
“Rafa’s presence in Barcelona is very important for the tournament and he will be even more so after the cancellation of last year’s edition,” David Ferrer, the former world No 3 and now the tournament director, said in a statement on the tournament’s website.
“What Nadal has done throughout his career is something amazing and unique. We must explain to all the fans that what we have seen with this player is not going to be repeated. Rafa is a legend of this sport and we have to enjoy him while we can.”
Though Nadal has dominated the clay-court schedule throughout his career, he has never won all four pre-Roland-Garros tournaments – Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid and Rome, in the same year. Before Madrid switched from indoors to clay in 2009, he won Monte-Carlo, Barcelona, Rome and Roland-Garros in 2005, 2006 and 2007. He also completed the “red slam” of Monte-Carlo, Madrid, Rome and Roland-Garros in 2010.
Nadal has won Monte-Carlo and Barcelona 11 times apiece, triumphed nine times in Rome and four times (on clay) in Madrid.