Rafael Nadal at the 2021 Mutua Madrid Open
Five-time champion Rafael Nadal has confirmed his presence at the 2022 Madrid Masters, making the Spanish event his comeback tournament.
Nadal has been out of action since suffering a stress fracture on his ribs at the Indian Wells Masters. He only recently returned to tennis training and will be keen to regain his form from the start of the season, when he went 20 matches unbeaten while also pocketing three titles, including the Australian Open.
The 21-time Major champion took to Twitter on Tuesday, confirming his presence at his home event. Admitting that his preparation has been “difficult,” Nadal pointed out that he did not want to miss the tournament because playing at home events is always a rarity.
“Despite arriving just before and preparation being difficult, I really want to play and play at home since the opportunities are few,” Rafael Nadal tweeted. “To try to do it in the best possible way. See you in Madrid.”
The Twitter account of the Madrid Masters followed suit, confirming their most-decorated player’s presence at the event.
“Rafa is coming!” wrote the Madrid Masters Twitter account. “We’re delighted to welcome back our five-time Mutua Madrid Open champion. Can’t wait to see you in the Caja Mágica!”
Quite interestingly, Nadal announced his comeback tournament on the day his good friend and rival Roger Federer announced a brief comeback schedule through his media sources and tournament organizers.
Federer has been confirmed to play at the Swiss Indoors in Basel this year. The 20-time Grand Slam champion will also participate in the Laver Cup from September 23-25, a month before his home tournament is scheduled to commence.
Rafael Nadal will be looking to clinch a record-extending 6th title at Madrid
The 35-year-old Spaniard has won the Madrid Masters on five occasions. He won his maiden title in 2005, defeating Federer’s current coach Ivan Ljubicic.
Nadal made his second summit clash at the event in 2009 but faced a straight-sets defeat at the hands of the Swiss. The Mallorcan exacted revenge the very next year, beating the 40-year-old to lift his second Madrid crown.
The 21-time Major champion then won the title in back-to-back years in 2013 and 2014, beating Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori respectively.
Rafael Nadal made the finals in 2015 but fell to Andy Murray. In 2017, he added his fifth title in the Spanish capital, beating Dominic Thiem in the summit clash.
However, the Mallorcan has not made the finals since then, falling in the quarterfinals twice and semifinals once.