“Not Beautiful”: Rafael Nadal Experiences Unusual Atmosphere at Italian Open 2020

Published 09/17/2020, 12:15 AM EDT
Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – September 16, 2020 Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his second round match against Spain’s Pablo Carreno-Busta Pool via REUTERS/Riccardo Antimiani


World No.2 Rafael Nadal made a scintillating comeback on the tour at the Italian Open 2020. Playing his first match in over six months, Nadal defeated Pablo Carreno Busta in straight sets. The 9-time Italian Open champion is aiming to win a record-breaking 36th Masters 1000 title.

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During the post-match conference, Nadal revealed whether it was difficult playing without spectators. The organizers at the Italian Open also followed the US Open protocols. This meant that they didn’t allow any audiences.

Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his second round match against Spain’s Pablo Carreno-Busta Pool via REUTERS/Clive Brunskill TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

“Well, it’s a strange feeling. It’s not beautiful, the feeling of playing without the spectators because the energy of the fans is impossible to describe,” said Nadal, admitting to missing the fans in Rome.

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Rafael Nadal displayed exemplary dominance

Nadal raced to a 5-1 lead in the first set, closing out the opening set with an ace. In the second set, Nadal broke Carreno Busta’s serve at 1-1 to close out the match in over 73 minutes at the Foro Italico. The 19-time Grand Slam champion also improved his head-to-head record against Busta to 6-0.

“But for me, at least, today has been a very positive comeback. I played a solid match,” added Nadal after reaching the third round.

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The Spaniard acknowledged that his opponent was a little tired after having a superb run at the US Open 2020. Carreno Busta reached the semifinals at Flushing Meadows and lost to Alexander Zverev in five-sets despite winning the opening two sets.

Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – Spain’s Pablo Carreno-Busta in action during his second round match against Spain’s Rafael Nadal Pool via REUTERS/Clive Brunskill

The “King of Clay” will face either Milos Raonic or Dusan Lajovic in the third round of the Italian Open. Nadal has a winning head-head record against both players. The defending champion had defeated his arch-rival, Novak Djokovic, in last year’s final at Rome.

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Kshitij Tayal

365 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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