Rafael Nadal - Roland Garros 2022, Iga Swiatek - Indian Wells 2024

World No.1 defends Pedro Cachin over Rafael Nadal shirt saga

The moment Pedro Cachin asked Rafael Nadal for his shirt after their meeting at the Madrid Open has gone viral, sparking conflicting views from tennis fans and pundits across the world. 

Cachin produced a commendable performance against the Spaniard, but ultimately fell 1-6 7-6 3-6 in a tight contest.

As the two embraced at the net, the Argentine asked his idol for something to savour the moment with, eventually receiving one of Rafa’s shirts.

The situation has had mixed reception on social media, with some claiming that it was not the right thing to do.

But world No.1 Iga Swiatek, among other household names in tennis such Nick Kyrgios, has spoken out in defence of Cachin.

“If I would play against Rafa, for sure I would ask for a t-shirt,” said the WTA star when quizzed about the situation.

What next for Rafael Nadal in Madrid?

This year’s Madrid Open is likely to be Nadal’s last dance in the Spanish capital, with the 22-time major champion set to retire at the conclusion of the 2024 campaign.

The Caja Magica has been a happy hunting ground for the Spaniard throughout his professional career, but his health has been a hindrance in recent times, so there has been doubt cast on his prospects this time out.

But Nadal has exceeded expectation by stringing together three consecutive wins for the first time since 2022.

The 37-year-old despatched teen sensation Darwin Blanch in the first round before avenging his loss to Alex de Minaur in Barcelona by beating the Australian in straight sets to advance in Madrid.

And, after the milestone win against Cachin, Nadal will battle it out with world No.31 Jiri Lehecka for a spot in the quarterfinal where Daniil Medvedev awaits.

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Jerome Coombe, Tennishead Writer, discovered his love for tennis journalism whilst studying languages and playing competitive tennis. He has a vast knowledge of tennis and strives to shed a light on all corners of the sport.