Rafael Nadal - Australian Open 2022

Rafael Nadal says adios to Mexico as exhibition tour comes to a close

Rafael Nadal has admitted that his exhibition match with Casper Ruud, in Mexico City, is ‘most likely’ the last match he will ever play in the country. 

Two of the world’s top three players, Nadal and Ruud, marked their final stop in their multi-city tour of Latin America by playing in the world’s largest bull ring. The pair battled it out in Mexico City’s Plaza de Toros Monumental de Mexico in front of 40,000 spectators.

Before stopping in Mexico they had played in Quito, Bogota, Belo Horizonte and Buenos Aires. Nadal got the better of the world no.3 in four out of five matches, including in Mexico, with Ruud getting the only win over his idle in Quito, Ecuador.

Nadal’s, 7-6 6-4, win over Ruud seems to signal the final chapter in his career in Mexico as he does not intend to defend his title in Acapulco next year.

“It will most likely be the last time I play in Mexico, Acapulco 2023 is not on my calendar and the 2024 season seems far away,” he told press. “Now is the time to enjoy this moment to the fullest and play in an emblematic setting, with many people and in a country where I have always felt loved.”

The Spaniard has had great success in Mexico, winning the title in Acapulco four times, with his most recent triumph coming earlier this year. Acapulco was also where he won his first ‘big’ title, in 2005, before going on to win his maiden Grand Slam at Roland Garros.

“When I’m in Mexico I don’t feel like a stranger, I don’t feel like a foreigner, in the end when you’re in a country where we speak the same language and there are more things that unite us, when I arrive here I feel at home,” Nadal said.

“In all the places I have been in the country in Cozumel, Tulum, Playa Mujeres, and Acapulco, I have always been happy. I have always taken good memories of the places, but also of the people, of the food, of everything, and that always encourages me to come back.”

As Nadal says farewell to Mexico, both him and Ruud get to put their feet up after another successful season. The pair are returning at the United Cup starting at the end of December, as they prepare to represent their respective countries.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.