There is nothing more iconic in Madrid than the beautiful Alcalá Gate, a delicious cocido or the presence of Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals of the Caja Mágica. Tennis lovers who have seen him in that round in the last eight editions of the Mutua Madrid Open will attest to that.
Thursday saw the top seed in the men’s competition win his second match this year in the Manolo Santana Stadium against 21-year-old Australian Alexei Popyrin, 6-3, 6-3 in one hour and 19 minutes.
The bubble the tennis players are in on tour means they are unable to partake in the activities they would normally enjoy during tournaments to wind down between matches. Nadal, who has openly confessed to being a lover of Madrid, would often be seen socialising during the week of the #MMOPEN.
Asked after his 54 th win on the Madrid clay what he would love to be able to do again, the Mallorcan said that it is “contact with people that you really miss because I have part of my family here watching the matches and I can’t see them or go out to dinner”.
— #MMOPEN (@MutuaMadridOpen) May 6, 2021
“I like to get out of the daily routine of the tournament”, explained the 20-time Grand Slam champion. The five-time Caja Mágica title-holder expanded on the subject, saying that for tennis players “being able to go out for two hours for dinner allows us to disconnect given what a normal day is like, having been focused almost all day on the match and the recovery afterwards”.
Regarding the new reality we are experiencing across the planet because of the coronavirus, Nadal said that, although they have to remain in the hotel, “I can’t complain because we’re always in good accommodation, and as much as possible, we have the most important things to hand”, before also expressing his desire for things to gradually “get back to normal”.
The Manacor native will take to the clay in the Spanish capital again on Friday to face Alexander Zverev who the Briton Daniel Evans by 6-3, 7-6 (3) after an hour and 37 minutes. The clash between five-times champion (2005, 2010, 2013, 2014 & 2017) and 2017 winner is scheduled on Manolo Santana Stadium not before 3:00 pm.
Did you know…?
Nadal has only missed the antepenultimate round of the Mutua Madrid Open in three of
his 17 uninterrupted appearances since his debut (2003, 2004 and 2012).