Nadal aims to find rhythm in Madrid


Rafael Nadal said on Sunday he is ready to win his sixth Madrid Open title as the 20-time Grand Slam champion steps up his preparation for the French Open.

Nadal will be gunning for a record-extending 14th triumph at Roland Garros, where victory this year would also edge him ahead of Roger Federer’s 20 major titles and to the top of the all-time men’s list.

The 34-year-old arrives in Madrid on the back of winning the Barcelona Open last week, when he had to come through a marathon final against Stefanos Tsitsipas in what was only the Spaniard’s third event of the year.

But there is room for improvement for Nadal, who struggled for his usual fluency in Barcelona and will be hoping for better this week in the Spanish capital.

“Barcelona was an important week for me,” Nadal said in a press conference on Sunday.

“Without playing my best since the beginning, I was able to be passionate, to stay positive and to accept the challenge to try to win matches without playing my best.

“I was able to achieve another important title in my career. That’s important for my confidence.

“I really believe that winning these kinds of tournaments when you are not playing that well can then make a big difference for the next ones. I feel that that was a positive week.—AP