Rafael Nadal Monte Carlo 2021

‘This is the best Tsitsipas I’ve seen. I need to be 100%’ – Rafa Nadal ahead of Barcelona Open final

Rafael Nadal will face Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Barcelona Open final after beating Pablo Carreno Busta in straight sets.

The top seed and 11-time Barcelona champion defeated his compatriot Carreno Busta 6-3, 6-2 in the semi-finals of the ATP 500 event. Second seed Tsitsipas beat Jannik Sinner 6-3, 6-3 earlier to reach his second final at the tournament.

The pair met in the Australian Open quarter-finals in February – with Tsitsipas coming back from 2-0 down in sets to win.

“Tsitsipas comes from winning in Monte Carlo and is playing at a very high level, he is the best Tsitsipas I have seen. I need to be 100%. He will play well for sure,” Nadal said in a post-match interview.

“I have taken steps forward, but I don’t know if it will be enough. I hope to be ready, but I am aware that I have to play longer, with my drive towards his backhand, serving well and playing with intensity. It is an important game for me beyond the result.

“I still need some more things, it is a matter of tranquility. I suffered but I passed the matches of the first rounds. Today I had good things, I have been taking steps forward during the tournament. It means a lot to me to play another final in Barcelona.

“Tsitsipas is playing at his best level since I’ve known him. At the moment he is number one in the race (to Turin), so little is needed. It is a day that I need to be at my best. If I succeed, I will have more options, but he may be the favorite and we must accept the challenge with humility.”

(Photo credit Ray Giubilo)

Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.