Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas

Stefanos Tsitsipas admits he ‘wouldn’t be surprised’ if Rafael Nadal reached Barcelona Open final

Stefanos Tsitsipas is heading to the Barcelona Open after winning the Monte Carlo Masters title, and the Greek has given his verdict on the return of Rafael Nadal.

Tsitsipas claimed the Monte Carlo for the third time in his career after beating Casper Ruud in the final, becoming only the fourth player in the Open Era to do so.

One of those players to triumph at least three times in Monte Carlo is the aforementioned Nadal, who has won the title on a record 11 occasions.

Nadal elected to skip the Monte Carlo Masters after admitting that he was not ready to compete, but the former No.1 is in the draw for the Barcelona Open this week.

And Tsitsipas has described Nadal as the ‘ultimate challenge on clay’ ahead of the ATP 500 tournament, “I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw Rafa in the final of Barcelona, because that’s something he has done over and over again for years and years.

“What he does have is this competitiveness and this fierce tennis when he gets into the momentum that sometimes feels like on the outside perspective unstoppable … I think he’s the ultimate challenge on clay.”

The world No.7 added, “Whether he’s playing now at, let’s say, later stages of his career or the ones before, what he has now that he didn’t before is experience, and he for sure knows ways to win points and to prevail more in economy mode than before.”

Nadal is a record 12-time champion at the Barcelona Open and has beaten Tsitsipas in two of those finals. Tsitsipas was also runner-up last year, having been beaten by Carlos Alcaraz in the final.

However, it will not be a Nadal-Tsitsipas final this year as they are in the same half of the draw and would only play if they both reached the semi-final.

Nadal will begin his Barcelona Open campaign against Italian youngster Flavio Cobolli, while Tsitsipas receives an automatic bye to the second round as the fifth seed.

Inside the baseline…

Over the years, it is undeniable that Rafael Nadal is as Stefanos Tsitsipas says ‘the ultimate challenge on clay’, but it is hard to even predict what sort of form he will be in this week. It is just nice to see Nadal back in an ATP draw, having only played three matches since the 2023 Australian Open.

READ NEXT – Barcelona Open 2024 Preview: When is it, who is playing and what is the prize money?

 Join >> Receive $700/£600 of tennis gear from the Tennishead CLUB

 Social >> FacebookTwitter & YouTube

 Read >> World’s best tennis magazine

 Shop >> Lowest price tennis gear from our trusted partner 

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.