Feliciano Lopez Reveals the Impact of Rafael Nadal Playing the Mutua Madrid Open

Published 11/26/2020, 12:26 PM EST
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his semi final match against Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman REUTERS/Christian Hartmann


Recently, the organizers of the Mutua Madrid Open made a major announcement. The ATP Masters 1000 tournament will become a two-week event from the 2021 season. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the prestigious clay-court event was suspended this year. World No.2 Rafael Nadal has won the most titles at Madrid, clinching the trophy five times since his debut in 2003.

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Last year, Feliciano Lopez became the director of the Madrid Open. Since then, he has continued his professional tennis career in tandem with the job. Interestingly, Nadal defeated Lopez at the Rolex Paris Masters earlier this month to claim a record 1000th win on the ATP Tour.

During an interview, Lopez was questioned whether Roger Federer would play at the Madrid Open one more time. The Swiss Maestro skipped the tournament for three consecutive years from 2016, however, he took part last year but lost in the quarterfinals.

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Roger Federer (SUI) during the French Open Tennis at Stade Roland-Garros, Paris. (Credit: Jon Bromley | MI News) (Photo by MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Lopez acknowledged that it’s a dream for any tournament to host the Big-3, and he wanted them to play at Madrid, just like they had in 2019. The Spaniard said that in the recent past event the Grand Slams haven’t been fortunate to host Nadal, Federer, and Novak Djokovic combined.

“What I want is for everyone to be there. Last year there were Rafa, Federer and Djokovic and it was spectacular. Having all three of them is a dream for any tournament. Not even the ‘Grand Slam’ have had them in recent years,” said Lopez.

In 2017 and 2018, Federer skipped the entire clay-court season, a decision taken to preserve his energy and avoid injuries. Being in the twilight of his career and recovering from a right knee injury, Federer might further tweak his schedule for the 2021 season.

Clay season important for Rafael Nadal: Lopez

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Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning the French Open final against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

The tournament director revealed that despite not being aware of the Big-3’s schedule, he believes Nadal will surely compete at the Madrid Open. Knowing the significance of the clay-court season on Nadal’s career, Lopez expects his fellow countryman to give more importance to his beloved surface.

“I don’t know about Djokovic and Federer’s plans, I do know Rafa’s a bit because for him the gravel season is very important. He is giving more importance to him in recent years, perhaps because he is getting older, because he selects the tournaments better. As director of the Mutua Madrid Open, if Nadal comes I will be happy with life,” remarked Lopez.

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(Quotes have been translated via Google translate)

Having won his 13th Roland Garros title recently, Nadal has a great opportunity to move past Federer’s record of winning 20 Grand Slam titles.

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Kshitij Tayal

464 articles

Kshitij Tayal is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having played district-level tennis competitions, Kshitij is also a tenured journalist of the sport with over four years of experience. At EssentiallySports, he pens down some thought-provoking pieces on players and tournaments across the ATP and WTA.

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