Cape Town – World number one Rafael Nadal reflects on playing in the Barcelona Open in 2017, where he won a historic tenth title.
The King Of Clay has never lost his touch on his favoured surface and cruised through to the 2016 and 2017 titles in the Spanish city without dropping a set.
Last year, he eased past Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-1 in the final for a special title, one he remembers with great fondness.
“It was fantastic…it was an unforgettable moment,” Nadal told atpworldtour.com.
“It's a tournament that I know very well. I feel a little bit like home, even if my home is Mallorca, I am from this club and I enjoy the fact that I can play here in front of my people.
“This part of the season, all the events are so special for me, so I really enjoy playing every week and this week is not an exception. Now having two weeks at home, Barcelona and then [the Mutua Madrid Open] it's a special two weeks back-to-back.”
Nadal arrives in Barcelona where he has a superlative 53-3 record, but will be hard pressed to keep that up with the likes of Thiem, the talented Grigor Dimitrov and rival Novak Djokovic on court in Barcelona.
Not that he needs any motivation…
“For me the extra motivation is just playing the tournaments that I am playing,” continued Nadal, who is coming off an 11th title at the Monte Carlo Masters.
“Monte-Carlo, for me is like a love story and here, almost the same. My real motivation is just play, Monte-Carlo last week and now play Barcelona. That's a tournament that I have had a lot of success and I really feel the passion for playing.”