“Always Be the Favorite”: David Ferrer Backs Rafael Nadal to Bounce Back at Barcelona Open 2021

Published 04/21/2021, 7:00 AM EDT
Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Monte Carlo Masters – Monte-Carlo Country Club, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France – April 16, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal reacts during his quarter final match against Russia’s Andrey Rublev REUTERS/Eric Gaillard


Former tennis star David Ferrer isn’t reading too much into the early exit at Monte-Carlo of fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal and said that he remains a clear favorite on clay going into future battles on the surface.

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An 11-time champion in the Principality, Nadal was brought crashing down to earth, quite literally, by Russian World No. 7 Andrey Rublev on his favorite stomping turf. The Spaniard went down in three sets, marking another unsuccessful campaign at Monte-Carlo after his semi-final defeat to eventual champion Fabio Fognini in 2019.

Speaking to Radio Marca, the three-time Davis Cup champion Ferrer said that it’s still early days in the claycourt season, and Nadal still has enough matches and tournaments to find his bearings on the red dirt ahead of the French Open.

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Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Monte Carlo Masters – Monte-Carlo Country Club, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France – April 16, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal reacts during his quarter final match against Russia’s Andrey Rublev REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

The Spaniard clinched an unprecedented 13th French Open title last year and has enlisted his participation at all the claycourt events in Europe with an eye on a successful title defense at Roland-Garros.

David Ferrer says Andrey Rublev caught Rafael Nadal by surprise at Monte-Carlo

Ferrer said that though Nadal showed flashes of brilliance in his defeat to Rublev, the Russian “surprised” him with his superior power game on the day. It’s not often that the Spaniard is beaten at his own game, but such was the case on that blustery Monte-Carlo evening, as Rublev outgunned Nadal with some fierce ball-striking.

“Rafa played two very good games, but it is true that Rublev surprised him,” the former World No.3 said, adding that it’s a long season and Nadal will get enough opportunities to reaffirm his status as the ‘King of Clay’, starting with the ongoing Barcelona Open.

The current World No. 3 will open his Barcelona Open campaign against Belarussian Ilya Ivashka on Wednesday.

Ferrer further said that if his countrymate can hold his shape and fitness, he doesn’t see anyone challenging Nadal on clay. “Rafa is the clear favorite on clay by game and because I see him excited or well. If he doesn’t have a major injury, he will always be the favorite,” Ferrer said

(Quotes have been translated with Google Translate)

Nadal had sought to play down his defeat to Rublev at Monte-Carlo, saying that he and his Big 3 rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have built such an aura of invincibility around themselves over the years that an odd defeat is played up more than it should be.

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The Spaniard had traveled to the Principality after a two-month absence from tennis to heal a sore back, and there was an element of rustiness in his game that may have hampered his progress at the event.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

854 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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