APRIL 21 - MAY 4, 2025

“I can never thank Madrid enough for the love”

The resurrections of Rafael Nadal just keep on coming… and coming. On Saturday in the Caja Mágica, the Spaniard earned himself yet another opportunity, and what a way to go about it. Who said today would be Rafa Nadal’s last match in Madrid? Who dared doubt the man?

After his umpteenth astonishing feat in the Caja Mágica, Rafa was visibly happy with his day’s work. We had missed his smile, this tournament was worth it for that alone. “I managed to get through a match of over two hours, in front of the people of Madrid, which is amazing. I’m happy because a few days ago it was difficult to imagine that I might be in the third round. I reached a good level of tennis, I think I did positive things”, admitted the Mallorcan.

His priority this week is fitness, a test he passed with flying colours. “I didn’t feel any pain. Nothing. I haven’t been able to play five matches in two weeks in the last two years and now I’ve done it”. Among the positives for the 22-time Grand Slam champion today was his serving. “I haven’t been able to serve for several months and this week I could. That means I have one less thing to worry about”. Step by step.

Asked about his quest for more court time, the Manacor native was also feeling optimistic: “One more week on tour. I’ve been practising with very good players for two and a half weeks and I’m reading situations better. I’d like to be able to redirect the ball more, in the second set today I did that. I played well enough”, opined Nadal.

The upcoming days will be very telling as we find out how he progresses. However, Rafa is not about to get ahead of himself. “Let’s not get carried away with the emotions of the match. I was competitive, but it depends on what your goals are. I’ve done things I haven’t been able to until now. In recent days it’s been better, I have to see how well I recover. There are things that I still can’t do, I need more support. The priority is for nothing serious to happen. If my fitness responds, then we’ll talk about the tennis”.

Along similar lines, Nadal explained that “today I think I’m a long way from doing great things, but it’s a small step forward. Big things are built from small steps. If I didn’t have hope I wouldn’t keep practising. My point of view is changed by what happens from day to day, not by a match. I have to get my confidence back in my body. Now I have the chance to play another match”.

What happened today in the Caja Mágica was magical indeed, but we must not forget that the five-time Mutua Madrid Open champion has done things in the Spanish capital that are simply unbelievable. “I make mistakes, but the fans in Madrid never falter. The atmosphere is tremendous. I can’t thank them enough. It was emotional, special. I’ve been lucky enough to experience incredible moments in this tournament. Ends are always emotional. I’ve had unforgettable moments here and this is another one. I will never be able to thank Madrid enough for the love. You never forget days like this”, he concluded.