“Playing in front of my people means a lot to me”-Rafael Nadal set to compete in Barcelona in lead up to the French Open

Rafael Nadal will kick off his clay-court season at the Barcelona Open, in the lead-up to the Roland Garros.

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal has had a stellar 2022 season so far. Just months after undergoing foot surgery, the Spaniard has made a remarkable turnaround by making a career-best start to his season. With speculations about his fitness doing the rounds before the start of the season, Nadal proved his naysayers wrong by making a perfect start.

He won the ATP Melbourne Summer Set 1, before adding a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title at the Australian Open. After a brief break following his historic triumph, the World No.4 returned to assert his dominance once again by lifting his 3rd consecutive title of the year in Acapulco. Now, he is gearing up to extend his unbeaten streak at the Indian Wells, which begins next week.

After the hardcourt swing, Nadal will begin his bid to win a record 14th French Open title. In the lead-up to the Roland Garros, he is scheduled to play at the Barcelona Open. The tournament director, David Ferrer confirmed the Spaniard’s appearance  Having Rafa in Barcelona is very exciting for the tournament and the expectation will be high to know how far he can go.”

Nadal was also delighted on his return to the tournaments where he has won an astonishing 12 titles. “Playing for my club and in front of my people means a lot to me,” Nadal said in statements provided by the Barcelona tournament.

The clay-court tournament is set to take place between April 16-24, just a month before the commencement of the French Open. With the Monte-Carlo masters taking place between April 9-17, a packed schedule lies ahead for Nadal who has already expressed his decision to skip key tournaments in an attempt to manage his workload and prevent recurring injuries.

Rafael Nadal’s record at the Barcelona Open

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal at Barcelona Open 2021

Nadal has an impressive record in Barcelona, the Spaniard has won the tournament a record 12 times, and he will enter the draw this year as the defending champion. Last year, Nadal defeated Stefanos Tsisipas in a marathon 3-set to lift his 12th crown on his home soil. The 35-year-old saved a championship point to eventually prevail in a grueling 3 hour and 38-minute encounter.

This is one of the most successful tournaments of Nadal’s career. Along with the French Open (13), this is the only event that Nadal has won 12 titles at. Having made a perfect start to his season, Nadal will be raring to begin his clay-court season by adding another to his tally.

Also read: “My heart stays at home” Emotional Dayana Yastremska calls her Lyon Open match ‘hardest’ amid horrifying circumstances in Ukraine