Rafael Nadal has been the most decorated player in the Caja Mágica with four titles. Still, Nadal's results in front of the home crowd haven't been that good in the last two years, and he couldn't change that last week. Rafa returned to action in Madrid after missing six weeks with a rib injury, and suffered defeat in the quarter-finals, as in 2021. The Spaniard admitted that he preferred to play in Estoril over Madrid, but was unable to recover in time to enter the ATP 250. Nadal started with victory in Madrid, beating Miomir Kecmanovic 6-1 and 7-6. Rafa did everything right in the first match, serving for a 6-5 win in the second. Kecmanovic recovered to level the score at 6-6 and introduce a tie break. Nadal kept his cool and took advantage of it to advance to the third round. There he faced David Goffin and took a 6-3, 5-3 lead. The Belgian refused to give up and fended off two match points to reach a tie break and force a decider. Nothing could separate them until the tie break, and the result was back and forth. Nadal overcame four match points to win the tie break 11-9 and win after three hours and ten minutes. Nadal advanced to the quarterfinals of the 99th Masters 1000, but was unable to overcome that hurdle. Rafa suffered a 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 loss to Carlos Alcaraz in two hours and 28 minutes. The youngster dominated his idol with almost 40 winners, losing a bit of ground in the second set after an injury, but starting again in the decider. Carlos grabbed three break points at 2-1 with a backhand crosscourt winner and converted the first to carve out the lead. In game five he held 30 to confirm the lead and comfortably held it again for 5-2.

Rafa is injured again

World No. 10 Casper Ruud has hailed Rafael Nadal for being an inspiration both on and off the court. "I try to learn from him every time I get to practice with him," Ruud said. "On the court and off the court, I think he's a very good example of how an athlete should behave, the values he has." Ruud said that he has gotten to know Nadal better after spending time at his structure. "I've got to know him a little bit more when I'm in the structure," he continued. "It's always fun to be there. It's motivating to be around him because you're talking about a guy who has won everything there is to win and still plays today like it's the first time he's playing on the center court. It's just incredible to see how he's been able to keep the motivation and the intensity for already so many years."



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