APRIL 21 - MAY 4, 2025

Nadal: “The support from Madrid has been unconditional”

Rafael Nadal’s feet are very much on solid ground at the Mutua Madrid Open. On Wednesday, the Balearic Islander was at the Caja Mágica, where he will compete for the last time in front of the fans in the Spanish capital. The five-time champion of the event gave a frank press conference in the build-up to a competition that will mark the end of his long history with the tournament.

“I’m excited about it. Playing in Madrid has been amazing. It’s difficult to say that anywhere else in the world gives me the support I get here. I can’t wait to play here again”, explained the former world No. 1, who will open his campaign on Thursday against the American Darwin Blanch. “The week has been good in some ways and not so good in others. I don’t think I’m 100% ready to play. I’m ready to go out and play tomorrow and that’s important to me. Being able to play in Madrid for the last time means a lot. At least I’ll be able to enjoy the court where I’ve had so many amazing moments again”.

The Mallorcan is approaching the tournament with no expectations, making the most of his final opportunity to connect with the fans that have buoyed him throughout his career. “I’m not aspiring to anything more than going out, playing, having fun and enjoying the feeling of playing in a place where I think the affection I’ve received is unbeatable. Then, if they want to do something they will. I promise you I’m relaxed about it. Nobody has to prove anything. They’ve shown me enough throughout my career, that’s the important thing for me”.

After his return to competition on the clay of Barcelona last week, the Spaniard is taking another step in his efforts to complete the clay swing. Despite not feeling his best, Nadal admitted he is keen to make an extra effort at an event that has a special place in his heart.

“It’s difficult right now to say what’s ideal. The ideal thing would be to be able to play without limitations, whatever happens”, he explained. “If I could play without limitations that would be more positive for me. It’s difficult because I haven’t felt perfect this week. With my mentality I think tomorrow I wouldn’t go out and play. But this is Madrid and, as I’ve said, there are a lot of emotional things to consider, which is why I’ve decided to go out and play for completely personal reasons. That doesn’t mean I’ve written anything off in the coming weeks, but the process isn’t a straight upward line. I don’t know what will happen. I’m going to give it a go without trying to confuse anyone. I don’t know what will happen in the next three weeks”.

With the challenge of the French Open looming, an event he will only consider if he feels he is fit enough to compete, Nadal is pushing himself in the Caja Mágica in order to do what he always has done; put himself on the line so that he can fight to achieve his goals.

“My objective has always been to go out on court with the peace of mind of having done everything possible so that things go well. Winning and losing is part of our daily lives. In my career there are few occasions when I’ve returned home with the feeling that I haven’t done everything possible for things to go well. Nowadays, simply, I cannot. In another situation in my career, I probably wouldn’t be playing, but I have to give it a shot. Time isn’t infinite anymore. I do things that we all think I have to do to see if there is a way forward. What has to happen will happen and I’ll try and do everything in my power every day”.

Nadal’s connection with the fans of Madrid has always been special. The Balearic Islander wanted to highlight how grateful he is for all the things he has experienced in the Spanish capital. From his first memories in Casa de Campo to the recent affection in the Caja Mágica. Speaking with an open heart, the five-time champion was full of praise for the spectators who are so excited to see him.

“I know what they’ve given me throughout my whole career and tomorrow I’m sure that it won’t be any different”, explained Nadal. “The support here has been unconditional, I’ve felt incredibly well supported and loved. I say that honestly, not because I’m here in Madrid. I’ve played here in Davis Cups, I’ve played the tournament about 20 times, starting on the indoor court. Winning that final, coming back from two sets down, I could never have done that without the fans. It’s a story of pure affection and support. I’ve been lucky to be treated so well by everyone. It’s special here. Quite simply, I know what will happen and I’m looking forward to experiencing it”.