APRIL 21 - MAY 4, 2025

«The support I’m getting this year in Madrid is even more special, if that’s possible»

“It’s positive, because now I don’t feel that something went wrong with my body. Let’s see what happens tomorrow. But I’m gonna try. I’m gonna do things the right way to try to be ready for tomorrow”, Rafael Nadal assured the media on Monday shortly after coming through another match, this one requiring three hours of fight to ensure his romance with the Mutua Madrid Open could live on one day longer.

The five-time champion regaled the 12,000 fans who cheered his name in the Manolo Santana Stadium with another victory that evoked his battles of old on the Madrid clay against Argentina’s Pedro Cachín (6-1, 6-7[5], 6-3).

“I need to improve in a lot of areas, but I held up and I’m happy. Winning the second set would have benefitted me much more than playing three hours, but I won and I’m happy about that, happy to have been able to face the challenge of the third set and to have improved. Things don’t come automatically. I made him play and he showed signs of tension closing out the second set. In the third I did manage to make a change in the way I was playing”, explained the 22-time Grand Slam champion.

Nadal’s connection with the fans in the Spanish capital was on display once again during the most emotional moments of the encounter. Chants of ‘Vamos, Rafa!’ from the stands were punctuated with first pumps from the Mallorcan player, who was spurred on in long rallies and decisive points.

“I’m enjoying myself. That doesn’t mean I’m not hopeful. I’ve received a lot of support in Madrid throughout my career and this year is more special, if that’s possible. I’m managing to enjoy it, but I didn’t want to lose. That would have bothered me. I’m happy about everything that’s happening to me in Madrid. I’ve built my entire career by evaluating small improvements and building my confidence from the bottom up. I’m trying to go through that process once again, even though it’s at a much more difficult time”, explained the Balearic Islander.

Nadal has earned the right to a fourth outing in the Caja Magica. It will come on Tuesday, when he will close out the day’s play in the Manolo Santana Stadium against Czech player Jiri Lehecka. “Playing at night gives me more time to sleep and work tomorrow. It’s a bit of an unknown quantity because I haven’t played three hours for a long time. It’s important to keep taking risks and for them to come off. To me it’s positive, I’ve been mentally awake and I’ve accepted the mental challenge. I hope to take more steps forward tomorrow”, continued the former world No. 1.

“I practised with Lehecka the other day, he has a big serve and good groundstrokes. His quality and ball speed are a step up. I wasn’t surprised to win today, doing so tomorrow would be another step forward. But just competing tomorrow would be a success”, concluded Nadal of his fourth-round opponent.