Rafael Nadal Monte Carlo Masters 2021

Rafael Nadal: ‘I was worried – I have competed very little in the last year’

Rafael Nadal was happy to concede that he was ‘worried’ by his form before completing a solid fightback against Ilya Ivashka in Barcelona.

Nadal lost to Andrey Rublev in the Monte-Carlo Masters quarter-finals last week, making an uncharacteristically error-strewn performance.

He was a big favourite to brush aside Belarusian Ivashkov in his Barcelona opener, but he was made to work immensely hard before closing out a 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 win.

“Today I don’t think he played at the level of his ranking,” Rafael Nadal said of his opponent.

“He played well and I didn’t do it and the game was tough and I accepted the challenge of fighting and running to win.

“I think games like today will help me get back to my best level. I’m a human and when I lost the first set I was worried.

“When you come from losing a game there are always a few days of doubts and I have to recover.

“I have trained better than I have played, but it is also true that I have gone from less to more in the game.

“I have competed very little in the last year and it was important to save this match in any way.”

Michael Graham, Editor, has been a professional sports journalist for his whole career and is especially passionate about tennis. He's been the Editor of for over 5 years and loves watching live tennis by visiting as many tournaments as possible. Michael specialises in writing in-depth features about the ATP & WTA tours.