Rafael Nadal - Brisbane International 2024

Rafael Nadal ‘wants to enjoy every moment’ of potential final Barcelona Open

Rafael Nadal has confirmed that he made a ‘last-minute’ decision to play the Barcelona Open, revealing that he will play it as if it is his last.

Nadal has played only three matches since the 2023 Australian Open, suffering a further setback in his quarter-final defeat at the Brisbane International earlier this year.

Despite withdrawing from the first Grand Slam of 2024, the 37-year-old revealed that the muscle injury was not too serious and subsequently entered the Qatar Open and Indian Wells.

However, it appeared to be more severe than first imagined, with Nadal raising concern after withdrawing from both tournaments and most recently the Monte Carlo Masters.

It was unclear as to whether Nadal would also pull out of the Barcelona Open, but the record 12-time tournament champion has confirmed that he will play tomorrow.

“I came here a bit on a last-minute decision, not knowing if I could play but tomorrow I’ll be on the court,” revealed Nadal. “For me it’s a gift to be able to be here in Barcelona, I will treat it as my last year [here] and I want to enjoy every moment.”

Nadal has been very open about the fact that it is likely to be his final year on the ATP Tour, with the former No.1 providing an update on his fitness status leading into Roland Garros.

“My feelings in training have been better than those I had in Mallorca,” said Nadal. “My body sensations have also been better and I feel ready to compete.

“Then we’ll see what happens. I haven’t been able to practice service much. I will try to take on the burdens progressively. There is uncertainty, but it is what it is.”

The 22-time Grand Slam champion continued, “You have to live with it. Within all of this, you have to be able to see things positively and be able to enjoy competing again, being in a tennis tournament, and here I am. What may or may not happen is less important to me.”

Nadal will compete at the Barcelona Open for the first time since winning his 12th title in 2021, when he takes on Italian youngster Flavio Cobolli in the first round.

Inside the baseline…

This is great news to hear from Rafael Nadal, who has had to withdraw from so many tournaments in the past year-and-a-half. Although Nadal claims it is a last-minute decision, it seems unlikely that the Spaniard would risk playing unless he actually felt ready to. Tomorrow will be a big indicator of whether Nadal is likely to be able compete anywhere near his full level, with Italian up-and-comer Flavio Cobolli a tough test.

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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.