Rafael Nadal claimed the Barcelona Open was one of the few ATP World Tour tournaments played at a “real” tennis club.
The world number four, and eight-time Barcelona champion, has been practising at the Real Club de Tennis, ahead of his first-up clash with fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro.
Nadal will take to centre court on Wednesday, with his path early on the ATP 500 event in Spain likely to
see him take on 13th seed Fabio Fognini and fifth seed Feliciano Lopez if he gets past Almagro.
The Mallorcan said the club’s history ensured it ongoing success.
“This club breathes tennis, it breathes the history of tennis,” Nadal said.
“It’s always special when we can play tournaments in a real tennis club and this tournament is one of the few we can play at a real tennis club.
“Talking about the tournament, the best players throughout history have been playing here, clay court
specialists have won here in the past so it’s a tournament that survives throughout all the eras of
the sport, and I am sure it will keep being successful for the next 50 years.”
Typically modest, Nadal said he had a tough draw -although the 28-year-old actually has a precedent to
base the statement on.
Almagro’s one career victory over the 14-time major winner came in Barcelona in 2014, ending a 10-match losing streak to his compatriot.
“These first few months of the season I haven’t been playing as consistently as in the past, but I hope this positive result in Monte Carlo helps me to calm down
a little bit to play my tennis again, and just try to keep having positive feelings here in Barcelona, and this
time maybe we’ll see if I can keep playing that well,” Nadal said.
“If I do, I hope to have my chances.
“It is a place I feel comfortable playing. The draw is very tough for me this year from the start, but I had a great week in Monte Carlo last week that’s very important for my confidence.
“My feeling was that it was the best week of the season without doubt. I have to try and keep going
with this good feeling here and try my best.”