Rafael Nadal Returns to Barcelona: “I’m Not Invincible” [Video]
by Tom Gainey | April 19th, 2011, 10:33 am

After skipping Barcelona last year as a precaution for his knee, Spanish tennis hero Rafael Nadal returns the the Open Banc Sabadell.

Nadal has won the Barcelona the last five times he’s entered, but this year the draw is stocked with talented players like David Ferrer and Robin Soderling who is the last player to beat Nadal on the red clay at the French Open fourth round in 2009. Andy Murray has just withdrawn from the tournament.

Nadal is also in near-perfect form after dismissing Ferrer 64, 75 in the Monte Carlo final Sunday.

Yesterday, Nadal met with the press in Barcelona, and talked about his clay streak and his battle with Novak Djokovic for the No. 1 ranking.

“Every year I did a fantastic clay court season,” Nadal said. “I have to try to do it another time. With these four or five tournaments, if I am playing very well, I’m going to have the biggest chances to have enough points to try to be in the top position at the end of the year ranking.”

He added, “I’m not invincible. I’ve lost before and there are still a lot more games to lose. Things have gone well the past few years but nobody is perfect.”

During the presser Nadal with the Association of Tennis Journalists Award 2010 by the Spanish media.

In his first match tomorrow Nadal will play Daniel Gimeno-Traver.

Here’s some more videos of Rafa in Barcelona:

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24 Comments for Rafael Nadal Returns to Barcelona: “I’m Not Invincible” [Video]

WTF Says:

I think he is making a big mistake playing Barca. He has played a lot of tennis this season, almost as much as Djokovic despite not winning any titles. Djokovic even had rest during Monte Carlo, Nadal didn’t. He is going to be tired and will risk his knees like he did in 2009. If he plays himself out, he might blow his chances at the French Open. I thought he’d learned that lesson once already.

He should stop caring about being #1. He didn’t care that much in the past. Let Djoker take it if he can. If he does, I can’t see Djoker holding onto it for that long, because he too will have worn himself out just to get there. I think he will run out of steam soon enough. He’s had a fantastic start to the season, but I can’t see him remaining at that level all season round. He has in the past complained about “mental fatigue” mid way through a season, not to mention physical fatigue. He’s improved his fitness a lot, but he’s no iron man.

Novak will come off the boil. Nadal should not concern himself too much with staying #1 at the expense of his health.

Anna Says:

Just read something interesting. According to Emilio Sanchez Vicario’s blog, the balls being used on the clay this year are slower than in the past, which does not benefit Spanish players, especially Nadal. The action he usually gets on the ball is dampened making it easier for players like Murray to return. I wonder who came up with this idea?

dari Says:

Anna, across all the clay tournaments? Even RG?
It seems weird that its not up to each tournament which balls to use.

Anna Says:

Dari – apparently RG has the option to use whatever balls they like, but the next three tournaments leading up to FO will be using these new balls. ATP rules apparently, but FO is the exception.

skeezerweezer Says:

@2:22 probably the same idiots who wanted the surfaces to play more like each other than not.

Kimmi Says:

anna – can you post the link pls?

Eric Says:

Hey, here is the real news — Davydenko finally won a match!

Kimberly Says:

WTF, agree with this statement. What is Rafa’s problem. He should prioritize the number of grand slams not the ranking. This strategy will jeopordize both in my opinion.

andres Says:

Also, Ferrero won his first match after being sidelined for seven months due to wrist and knee injuries. I have always like his game.

Eric Says:

WTF, I also agree, but for one thing… Rafa may have said he didn’t care about #1 before, but that was before he was unquestionably the best player in the world currently – which, Nole’s stellar 2011 notwithstanding, he still clearly is. (OF course, Rafa also says every match will be difficult, and we all know that’s a fib. :) )

Kimmi Says:

ferrero! i even forgot about him. great win on the come back. mallise is a tough opponent too.

I see stepanek lost to milos again. three loses to milos this year..go milos.

dari Says:

+ ++++JC Ferrero I knew he was out and was “coming back”, but you know how these things go. Good for him

stu Says:

Agree WTF, Kimberly and Eric. Rafa will feel stupid if he jeopardizes the FO for a measly 500 points in Barca, especially since he has been complaining about being tired since Miami.

WTF, I don’t however agree that “mental fatigue” will be Djokovic’s downfall. Earlier, he was fatigued because he tried so hard but got no results. I think the adrenaline from winning will take care of any mental fatigue, provided he stays healthy.

Kimberly Says:

As crazy as it sounds I wouldn’t cry if he had an early round loss like queens or Rome 2008

If he insists on playing it and wins I think he should skip Madrid. 5 tournaments is too much in thebclay season. Four is much better. Hasbtnhe learned this lesson?

Or maybe I’m just an idiot and indent known what I’m talking about.

Lulu Iberica Says:

I don’t know, I think playing Barcelona might be good for Rafa. He certainly has a great chance of winning it. Sod hasn’t been playing well for a while, now Murray’s out, and Rafa beat Ferru in straights while not playing very well, so maybe it will be a relatively easy 500 points. I wouldn’t mind a loss in Madrid, as long as he’s been winning elsewhere and it doesn’t affect his confidence too much.

I want him to hold on to no. 1, especially for year-end, and I don’t think he’ll be winning USO this year, so now is the time to amass points. Of course, losing at RG would be worse than losing no. 1 or anything else, but Rafa’s knees and overall health seem fine, and while he’s playing more this year than last, it’s still less than 2009. Anyhoo, Vamos Rafito! Show ’em who’s King of the Dirt!

WTF Says:

stu, I just don’t think Novak will go the entire season undefeated. He’ll eventually either get tired, or injured, then lose confidence. Everyone has highs and lows throughout a season. Only Federer in his prime avoided that, and he’s no Federer. Federer is a lot tougher built I think. He can endure anything he’s ever had to. Never complained about heat or fatigue, or retired from a match, and rarely got seriously injured.

I’m not saying mental fatigue will be Novak’s downfall. But in past seasons he has chalked down some of his early losses to that very thing, after having great early seasons. I think 2008 when he lost to Safin at Wimbledon, that was the reason he gave. It will probably be a factor once again in some capacity.

Kimberly Says:

soderling crashed and burned in Barcelona v. Dodig? Wonder if the absence of Magnus Norman is takign effect.

Anna Says:

Hasn’t Soda been nursing an injury? I don’t think he’s played a match in a while. Still, this seems unusual, especially looking at the score.

Huh Says:

4giv 4 bein slight off-topic bt al i wana say’s nole wont bt nadal imo in any clay tournament dis yr, bt he’d surely chaleng n at least sow som seeds of doubt in rafa’s head, if not 4 FO, at least 4 WIM/USO. best of luck to nole n muzza. may dey win d wimby n uso respectivly. n honestly speakin i’d b glad if eithr JMDP/Nole/Fed win FO n eithr Rod/Fed/Nole/Muzza win WIM/USO.

Huh Says:

btw, if anythin, i jst lov d new(old?) look of muzza n was glad 2 see him completly match rafa 4 a larg part of match in MC. hop d new look brings muzza his 1st slam not latr dan by d 2011 USO. d guy has max talent bt litl luck so far in slams. hope muzza joins d GS club finaly dis year similar to JMDP who’d a thrashin at AO 09, but win at US 09. somthin similar hapenin 2 muzza dis year’s al dat i hope.

Huh Says:

muzza wid his longr hair’s symbolisin raw talent.

jane Says:

Kimberly, I think Barcelona could work in Rafa’s favour as he builds and hones his clay game. Also Melzer wins again, and I see Monfils really does seem to have Gasquet’s number!

jane Says:

huh, symbolic hair, lol. ;) But if it helps Murray win, then for sure!

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