Spanish tennis player Rafa Nadal will be back on the slopes this Wednesday when he makes his debut against compatriot Pablo Carreño in the second round of the 1000 Masters in Rome, his first tournament since the pandemic break and set-up for the assault next week from his thirteenth Roland Garros.
The manacorí played for the last time on February 29, the day in which he conquered the victory in Acapulco (Mexico) against the American Taylor Fritz. Then, the coronavirus appeared and although the activity returned, he chose not to play until the appointment of the Foro Italico, prelude to the ‘great’ of Paris, ruling out doing so in both the Masters 1,000 in Cincinnati and the US Open, for security reasons.
“Not having played the US Open gives me a slight disadvantage with the majority, but I trust to be well, competitive,” reflected last Monday the world number two, who returns to action defending title in the Italian capital and opening the evening shift (7:00 pm) against a rival who was in New York and who also did very well.
Nadal will face a Pablo Carreño who has more competitive rhythm, but who you’ll have to adapt to the fast change from the hard court of Flushing Meadows to the slow pace of Roman red clay, and especially before the considered best player on this surface, who seeks to add Rome to his collection of tournaments that he has won at least ten times such as Roland Garros (12), Monte Carlo (11) and Godó (11).
Anyway, Carreño will try to confirm the good feelings he left at the US Open where was one set away from playing the first final of his career in a ‘big’ before being a victim of the comeback of the German Alexander Zverev.
However, he still does not know what it is to win the Balearic in his previous five matches and this year he already lost clearly at the Australian Open (6-1, 6-2, 6-4). For now The one from Gijón took sensations with the ground in the doubles with the Australian Alex de Miñaur, although with defeat against Colombian experts Juan Sebastián Cabal and Robert Farah (6-3, 6-2).
Nadal is once again the great favorite in the Foro Italico, although with the permission of the world’s number one, a Novak Djokovic who will be eager to retaliate from his disqualification at the US Open for giving an involuntary pitch to a linesman.
The Serbian, who will have a theoretical debut affordable against local Salvatore Caruso, guest of the organization, and the Spanish starred in last year’s final and will look in the ‘Eternal City’ to tie the tie in the number of titles (35) of Masters 1,000.