The main favourite of this new edition of the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell attended the media virtually this morning after his morning practice and made it clear that his stumble in Monte Carlo is more than forgotten. “What happened in Monte Carlos is in the past, the defeats are neither pleasant nor positive, and they put everyone in their place. Monte Carlo put me in my place and now I hope that Barcelona will go well”.
He has spent days in the bubble with his team in Barcelona, polishing the last details and showing as motivated as ever. Rafa faces this week with “enthusiasm, it is always nice to play in Spain, in this case in Barcelona. Here I have won many times and this has been my club since I was 13 or 14 years old”, so he feels comfortable playing at home with the public again.
Nadal arrives in Barcelona after having played only two tournaments this season, due to the back injury that kept him out of the competition these first months of the year. Despite his lack of play, he has a win/loss record so far of 6-2, a good percentage that makes the Spaniard feel confident in his game.
Tomorrow he will debut against Ilya Ivashka, who qualified for the main draw and defeated Tallon Griekspoor on Monday 6-3 6-1. The Belarusian placed in position 111 of the ranking knows the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona-1899 well since trains quite often on these courts; he is not underestimated by the Majorcan. He affirms that it will be a difficult match, that his rival comes from playing well in the qualifying matches, and that he also showed good level in Marbella.
The 11-time champion of the tournament is eager to lift the trophy again, on a court that bears his name, and above all to gain confidence in this gravel season that will conclude at Roland Garros. “I arrive well, after, the court and the competition; they will determine how I really am.” We will see if these good feelings that Nadal transmits are reflected in matches throughout the week.
Rafael Nadal: “I have not played much over the past few months, or the past year. Coming back to competition is always tough. Monte-Carlo was an important challenge, where I experienced a lot of positives during the tournament and practice sessions. I lost in the quarter-finals, not being able to compete at the level that I needed. Here I have another opportunity."
“I’ll go week by week. I have an important month that finishes with Roland Garros. Each match and each week is important now. That’s how I see it. I am hoping that the negative stuff doesn’t take a toll and I am aiming to be positive every day to get to where I want to be."
“I want to win events before Roland Garros, because I like to win tournaments. Of course, it’s easier winning Roland Garros with the confidence of winning events before, as I have done for much of my career. But the key is put myself into a position to be competitive in every single event. I have not competed a lot over the past year, but even if I felt ready for Monte-Carlo, matches like I had can happen. I will keep working hard for my match tomorrow in Barcelona, and every day for Madrid, Rome and Roland Garros."
“If you are training well every day, when you play a match and do some things especially bad, it is surprising. I knew what happened immediately. Losses, even if they are not pleasant or positive, put everyone in their place. I analyse details from every match, and I know that I need to improve certain things. It was a strange match. You can lose against a great player like Rublev, but I did some things wrong and that surprised me."
“Other times, when you’re not feeling great, playing bad seems logical. That wasn’t the case in Monte-Carlo, but it happened. You need to understand what went wrong to avoid making the same mistakes again. After any loss, you have some days with doubts. The key is to recover and that’s what I have been doing. I have trained with the right attitude to have great feelings to compete here.”
• Press conference (ESP)
• Pre-tournament interview