World No. 3 Rafael Nadal is making his Citi Open debut in Washington, D. C. this week.
The Spanish star, who’s the highest seed, shall be joined within the ATP 500 hard-court occasion by rising stars Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, Italian Jannik Sinner, and American Sebastian Korda, in addition to Australians Alex de Minaur and Nick Kyrgios.
Nadal is taking part in on tour for the primary time since falling to world No. 1 Novak Djokovic within the semifinals of the French Open, a match the Spaniard, often known as the King of Clay, has received 13 occasions.
After that loss, Nadal determined to not play Wimbledon and the Olympics, stating: “I’ve determined to not take part at this yr’s Championships at Wimbledon and the Olympic Video games in Tokyo. It’s by no means a straightforward choice to take however after listening to my physique and focus on it with my staff I perceive that it’s the proper choice.”
Now Nadal wants match follow. His taking part in fashion—a lefty with heavy topspin who slides effortlessly—is extra suited to clay. A tough courtroom is tougher work for him. The motion on a tough courtroom is far more inflexible, extra cease and begin.
He must regulate his recreation, play a bit faster, discover his rhythm, in order that he can play nearer to the baseline. Nadal is a routine employee, and the extra matches he performs, the extra he’ll get right into a rhythm, the extra confidence he’ll have.
Nadal needs to really feel snug, permitting him to play his finest stage. When he’s snug, he dominates.
His forehand is devastating. His backhand passing shot is unmissable. He expertly closes in on the volley to complete the level.
As a lefty, he already has a bonus on his serve, pulling it broad or slicing it into the physique. He’s inventive together with his drop photographs, lobs, and with holding the ball and hitting it behind his opponent. He has unbelievable selection. He can do something.
Nadal additionally has to get used to the situations. The warmth and humidity in Washington will not be a lot totally different than New York. In 4 weeks, he’ll start his marketing campaign for a file 21st Grand Slam title on the US Open.
To date, the Spaniard appears to be having fun with his time in Washington.
After a follow session, Nadal mentioned: “I like to be right here in Washington as a result of just isn’t solely a brand new occasion for me, is a brand new metropolis. I’m able to go to some of the vital cities on the planet. And actually, it’s a really lovely metropolis. I’ve been capable of stroll round little bit the final couple of days. I’m very impressed. I hope to have an opportunity to go to little bit extra town in the course of the subsequent couple of days.
“However what I noticed, so lovely. A really inexperienced metropolis, decrease buildings than many of the American huge cities. I’m having fun with town, I’m having fun with the folks. Yeah, having enjoyable.”
On Saturday, Nadal practiced with 21-year-old American Sebastian Korda. Korda has mentioned that Nadal was his childhood idol.
Nadal mentioned of Korda: “Good bodily look, good serve, good photographs from the baseline. I feel he’s an awesome man, full participant.
“He has a whole lot of issues to do within the subsequent years in our sport. I feel I at all times consider since I noticed him play that he going to have the prospect to be among the best gamers of the world.
“Let’s see. Is at all times the identical. I feel he has all of the issues that he must be a positively prime man. After all, then issues will not be simple and it’s good to preserve bettering.
“However I positively consider, should you ask me, he going to be an awesome one.”
Korda is seeded 12th and on the other facet of the draw from Nadal, so the primary likelihood the 2 may meet can be the ultimate, which would definitely make for an intriguing matchup.
All through the match, the Citi Open will honor the heroes of the pandemic. Photographs of the pandemic heroes shall be featured across the stadium advanced alongside pictures of tennis greats, and tales shall be instructed every day on social media.
Every night time earlier than the 7:00 pm coin toss on the stadium courtroom, organizations and people which have labored tirelessly in the course of the pandemic to assist the area, nation, and world shall be honored in entrance of gamers and the sold-out crowd.
“None of us might be on the Citi Open this yr if it weren’t for the various unsung heroes of the pandemic,” mentioned Citi Open Chairman Mark Ein. “We need to use our platform to acknowledge the unbelievable dedication and contributions of the scientists, medical professionals, lecturers, and non-profits whose inspiring work saved lives and guarded our communities. We hope the nation and the world will be a part of us in celebrating these true heroes.”