“Must Be Very Clear About the Weapons”: Pablo Carreno Busta Reveals Strategy to Beat Rafael Nadal on Clay

Published 05/03/2021, 5:48 PM EDT
Tennis – ATP 500 – Barcelona Open – Real Club de Tennis Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain – April 23, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his quarter final match against Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie REUTERS/Albert Gea


Pablo Carreno Busta, who made the semi-finals at the US Open last year, has been one of the most consistent performers at the ATP Tour over the last couple of years. The Spaniard recently lost in the semi-finals at the Barcelona Open against Rafael Nadal. 

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Carreno Busta is having a decent run at the tour this year as he won the clay tournament at Andalucia and the semi-finals at the Barcelona Open after defeating tough clay courters like Diego Schwartzman. 

Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Monte Carlo Masters – Monte-Carlo Country Club, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France – April 15, 2021 Spain’s Pablo Carreno-Busta in action during his third round match against Norway’s Casper Ruud REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Pablo Carreno Busta lauds Rafael Nadal’s clay-court mastery

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As he looks forward to making a deep run at the ongoing Mutua Madrid Open, Carreno Busta spoke highly of his compatriot and twenty-time grand slam champion, Rafael Nadal.

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Tennis – ATP 500 – Barcelona Open – Real Club de Tennis Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain – April 24, 2021 Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta in action during his semi final match against Spain’s Rafael Nadal REUTERS/Albert Gea

Speaking about Nadal’s clay-court skills, Carreno Busta said, “Even if he’s not at his best, because he’s been very, very tall and it’s not easy to keep hitting at him or get it back. Especially on clay, he is the best player there is right now, and he’s ever been in tennis history.”

The Spaniard also pointed out the tactics one needs to use to have any chance of beating Nadal on the red dirt. 

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“It’s very difficult to play against him. You must be very clear about the weapons and come to the match thinking that you can hurt him and hope that he is not at his best level. He’s a favorite at all clay-court tournaments.”, Carreno Busta continued. 

Having lost all his eight encounters against Rafael Nadal on the ATP tour, Carreno Busta knows how hard it is to beat the clay-court maestro. In his most recent matchup against Nadal at the Paris Masters last year, Carreno Busta managed to win a set. When everyone sensed an upset, Nadal was quick to bounce back and won the next two sets. 

With the French Open coming up, Pablo Carreno Busta is looking to make the most of both the Madrid and Italian Masters to give himself a fighting chance in Paris. The Spaniard reached the quarter-finals of the French Open last year, where he was beaten by Novak Djokovic.

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Sagar Ashtakoula

81 articles

Sagar Ashtakoula is a tennis writer at EssentiallySports. He has been following the sport since 2007. Having developed an interest in creating content, he mixed his passion for writing with his love for tennis for 2 years at SportsKeeda before joining the tennis team at EssentiallySports.

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