Madrid | Nadal still not certain for Roland Garros!

Rafa Nada sailed into the second round of the Madrid Masters as he swept aside Darwin Blanch in 66-minutes for the loss of just one game in what was a David and Goliath confrontation.

Today I played against an opponent with a great future in front (of him), but today he's still making mistake, So just happy to be through and wish him all the best for the future." Rafa Nadal

However, on this occasion, the 37-year-old ‘Goliath’ stood firm and sent his opponent, a 16-year-old American packing to get more experience.

For Nadal, the match was another step on his comeback trail and whether it was a good test of his current fitness, is hard to tell for he was hardly tested. In many ways, the 14-time French Open champion, had a good training session.

Even so, the great Spaniard has indicated that he is still not happy with his fitness and before the match, revealed that his current fitness level would prevent him from playing at Roland Garros!

“The sensations this week haven’t been perfect. With my mindset, if I had to play tomorrow, maybe I wouldn’t play. But as I said before, with Madrid there are many emotional factors coming together, and I feel compelled to go and play for personal motives,” Nadal, a five-time Madrid champion said earlier in the week.

“This doesn’t mean that I would be giving up anything in the coming weeks. But this isn’t an upwards process, in a straight line. I don’t know what could happen.

“I will try, as I always say, without trying to confuse anybody. I don’t know what will happen in the next three weeks. I will be fighting and doing the things I deem necessary, so I can play in Paris.

“I won’t be playing in Paris if by then I feel the way I feel right now. If I was in Paris today, I wouldn’t go out to play. This is the reality.

“We’ll see what happens. The world does not end with Roland-Garros, although it has been the most important tournament of my career. If I don’t play Paris, there are other tournaments there; there is an Olympics soon and other events. I am not going to do more than I feel capable of doing or have the desire to do.”

On Thursday there was no mention of his fitness but that will certainly be fully tested in the next round when he faces Alex de Minaur, the Australian who beat him in straight sets in Barcelona last week.

Meanwhile he declared himself happy with his performance and wished Blanch all the best for the future.

“Today I played against an opponent with a great future in front (of him), but today he’s still making mistake,” Nadal said. “So I just tried to be there, be solid all the time without taking a lot of risks and (it) worked well. So just happy to be through and wish him all the best for the future.”

Blanch certainly did his best but he couldn’t make much of an impression on the former world No.1’s game and it must have been quite terrifying to face him in front of a packed Manolo Santana stadium who were there to support the home player.

“Well, it’s great,” he said. “For me, after how things… developed in the last few years, every time that I had a chance to be on court, on this amazing stadium with unconditionally supportive crowd. It means a lot to me.

“So I’m just trying to enjoy every moment. And tomorrow, one more day of practice here and after tomorrow again on court. So that makes me feel great.”


Rafael Nadal (L) and Darwin Blanch at the net following their match

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)




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