Rafa Nadal Indian Wells 2022

Rafael Nadal seeking ‘patience’ ahead of Madrid return

Grand Slam legend Rafael Nadal has played down his titles expectations ahead of the Madrid Masters this week as he returns to competitive action for the first time in six weeks. 

The 35-year-old Rafael Nadal, who has not played since his defeat in the final of the Indian Wells Masters to Taylor Fritz, is set to return this week at the Masters in the event in the Spanish capital with the aim of clinching his sixth ATP Masters 1000 trophy.

Before his 6-week injury lay off, the Spanish veteran was on a blistering run of form which included title wins in Acapulco and Melbourne as well as capturing a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title. 

Despite the ‘King of Clay’ being happy to be back in Madrid and to play his first matches on clay all season, he believes he will need to be patient in order to find his best form due to a lack of preparation time.

“I have improved compared to when I arrived here [in Madrid], but I still have ups and downs, because it’s been a long time,” Nadal said. “It’s going to be a difficult week.”

“That’s the reality. We have to be calm, we have to accept that things are going to be far away from perfection, but then onwards we just have to fight. I’m recovered. I feel good.

“It’s a very tight tournament for me. We will have to take the positives and perhaps I will have good moments playing on court. We have to have some patience. We have to be humble day after day to see what happens. I will try to improve every day.”

Rafael Nadal went on further to discuss the impact of a mid-season injury but stated he has a positive outlook on his return.

“It’s difficult when you have these injuries in the middle of the season, it’s difficult to recover,” he explained. “But my ideas are very clear.

“I know that the moment has been negative. A goal for me is to be able to accept what happened and be able to play as best as possible. I know it’s going to be difficult, but I’m also confident. I know that things started very well at the beginning of the season.”

Nadal is set to play either Alexander Bublik or Miomir Kecmanovic in his opening match in Madrid, as the Australian Open champion will be looking to claim a record-equaling 37th Masters title.

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