Of the many cases that could occur on his return to competition, few could think that today Rafael Nadal were to give up just two games in his first game of the Rome Masters 1000 before Pablo Carreño. In his first game in almost seven months, the Manacor was intractable and focused on his goal of gradually improving. Minutes later, already in the virtual press room, he confirmed that the conditions of the slopes are faster than usual, even in the night shifts.

– Return to competition

“It’s great news to be back on the track, although obviously nothing is the same. The sensations are not the usual. Playing without an audience, especially in a tournament like Rome, is always very exciting. I miss them, honestly, it was all very strange. It is impossible to describe how necessary they are ”.

– First match, first win

“I have played a good game, possibly he was a little tired after his career in New York, he had a great tournament. For me it was a perfect start, I played very solid, hitting good shots with both my forehand and backhand, I also didn’t make too many unforced errors. It was a very serious game where I did a lot of things well, it was a fantastic game, you couldn’t ask for more. Starting this way has been a great injection of positive energy. “

– Still a lot to improve

“I will have to improve many things, of course, that is the way. The only way to improve is to keep training with the right attitude and intensity for the games to come. That training gave me the opportunity to play a great game against a very good opponent. Playing a next game is always good news, much more so if it is here in Rome. This tournament is one of the most important in our sport, I always come with a lot of motivation, so I will try to do my best ”.

– Evolution during quarantine

“I did not touch a racket for two months during confinement. Then I was training for a few days on the fast track, until I changed and started training on clay more and more, but I can’t tell you when exactly I made that change. It was a very slow return, step by step, avoiding any type of injury to my body. The objective was to travel that path with the utmost caution to arrive ready for the competition ”.

– Different conditions compared to May

“Obviously, I can’t improve much from the past considering what I’ve done historically in the tournament. I’ve won it nine times, so I don’t know if it can harm me, surely not benefit (laughs). When you have been so successful in a tournament, what you want is for nothing to change, the conditions had worked very well for me. Outside of this, the reality is that it is warmer than in May, much more. The slopes are much faster, even at night. The ball was flying a lot, it was more alive ”.

– Sensations inside the bubble

“We are a bit bored, really. All we do is be in the club and in the bedroom, although it is true that we also have a dining room. We are in a hotel up here from where you can see all of Rome, something is something. The only negative thing is that we have a hotel with a fantastic terrace and a beautiful garden that we cannot step on. Perhaps they could have given the players a small piece of land in that garden to breathe a little bit of fresh air. Luckily, the club is huge and it is beautiful to walk around here, I have discovered places that I have not seen in these fifteen years ”.