Rafael Nadal will compete at the Barcelona Open in April 2023. The 12-time champion will return to court Rafa Nadal after missing the event this year due to a broken rib. Thus, the Spaniard will compete in Barcelona two decades after making his debut there at the age of 16, winning 66 of 70 games in one of his beloved stops on the calendar.
Rafa fell to Alex Corretja in three sets in 2003 and came back stronger two years later. Nadal won five straight titles in Barcelona between 2005 and 2009. He skipped the 2010 edition and claimed three straight titles without dropping a set between 2011 and 2013.
Rafa’s second and third defeats at Barcelona came in 2014 and 2015 before he reigned supreme again from 2016-18, winning all 15 matches in straight sets. Nadal’s fourth and final loss in Barcelona came in the 2019 quarterfinal against Dominic Thiem.
Rafael Nadal will compete in Barcelona for the 17th time.
Rafa’s 12th title in Barcelona came last year after a hard-fought win over Stefanos Tsitsipas. Nadal edged out Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-7, 7-5 in three hours and 37 minutes after avoiding a match point!
Thus, Nadal held his own in Barcelona’s title matches, saving that match point in the deciding tenth game to prevail in the longest-running best-of-three final since the ATP Tour’s inception in 1990! Tsitsipas won the title in Monte Carlo and reached the final in Barcelona without losing a set, playing at a high level and giving his best against Nadal in a memorable final.
The Spaniard prevailed in the closing stages of the decider to lift his 61st ATP title on clay. Rafa saved 11 of 13 break chances and produced four breaks that sent him over the top. He survived that match point and rattled off the last three games to outrun the opponent and take home the trophy.
Stefanos refused to give up, dodging match points in the second set before taking it on the tiebreak thanks to Nadal’s double fault at 6-6. They remained neck-and-neck in the decider, and Rafa saved a match point in the tenth game before delivering the crucial break a few minutes later.
After the match, the Spaniard admitted that he had never played a similar final in Barcelona, praised the Greek and said that it was an important victory that should help him in the upcoming tournaments.