"Argentina is a clear candidate to go far in Qatar"said Rafa, a soccer fan at heart.  Photo German Garcia Adrasti

Buenos Aires has already begun to throb the great tennis day that will take place this Wednesday at the Arena Parque Roca, where Rafael Nadalthe maximum winner of Grand Slams in history (22), will play an exhibition with Casper Ruudnumber three in the world, and with Gabriela Sabatini Y Gisela Dulko. The Spaniard, second in the world ranking, assured, after disembarking in the Argentine capital and visiting the IguazĂș Falls, that he was very excited to play again in our country. “I am happy to be here. The Argentine public is very knowledgeable about the sport, very passionate. Whenever I come here they treat me in the best possible way and I always take unforgettable memories and positive energy with me”, commented the Mallorcan, in the frame of a press conference in which much was said about tennis and also about football.

Days after the start of the Qatar World Cup -and hours after the surprise defeat of the Argentine national team against Saudi Arabia-, the Mallorcan lent himself to the football talk and, although he did not want to risk a prognosis, he affirmed that, despite the stumble of the debut, the team led by Lionel Messi It is still among his favourites.

“They had a triumphant path until today and positivism and the state of euphoria was very important. But I am not much of extremes: neither of a lot of euphoria nor so much catastrophism. The world has not changed in the last ten hours. He simply lost a game and there are two more ahead. I think that when a team is prepared with a strong squad and a coach who has managed to generate a very united group and achieve as important a line of wins as they have been achieving, the least they deserve is trust and respect “, Rafa analyzed.




“Argentina is a clear candidate to go far in Qatar,” said Rafa, a soccer fan at heart. Photo German Garcia Adrasti

“They come from being champions of America, from having one of the best winning streaks in a row. So why lose confidence because of a bad day? As a soccer fan, I believe that anything can happen in sport, but I still think that Argentina is a clear candidate to go far”, continued who recognized that although many times, as a Real Madrid fan, he suffered from Messi, he also knew how to enjoy it.

Apart from the light blue and white outfit, what are Nadal’s other favorites to lift the cup in Qatar? “It’s hard,” he began. “I would put Argentina, Spain, Brazil, France, Portugal and Germany. I think that these teams are, by tradition, by history and by present, with a tad advantage over the others and have the most options.

Although he was quick to clarify: “But equality in sport is increasing and any team will have the option of winning. Everything is decided in the smallest details, a result cannot be predicted. We’ll see what happens.”

"Equality in sport is increasing and any team will have the option of winning", Nadal said about the Qatari candidates.  Photo German Garcia Adrasti


“Equality in sport is increasing and any team will have the option of winning,” Nadal said of the Qatari candidates. Photo German Garcia Adrasti

And about his country’s team, he added: “A World Cup is lived with the utmost passion and I, as a Spaniard, am confident that tomorrow we will start off well. You have to be calm and trust that the work will go well.”

The football talk was not too long. Ruud only said that a few years ago he began to watch more football, that he is a Liverpool fan and that Messi seems to be one of the best players in history, with a great reading of the game and incredible handling of the ball. But the focus was placed, above all, on tennis.

Of tennis today and yesterday

“It’s very exciting to be able to play here with Raph. We met a few days ago in Turin, so it’s nice to do it again and this time in Buenos Aires, a city where I have good memories. This year I was in February and I was able to win the title, here I also won the first title of my career (in 2020) and when I arrived today, I started to feel all those good feelings again. Hopefully we will play tomorrow in a full stadium. It will be very special to share that tour with Raph“, commented the Norwegian.

Nadal anticipated that one of the special moments of the day this Wednesday will be sharing the court with Sabatini, the best player in the history of national tennis.

Many fans gathered in the Alto Palermo to see, even from afar, Nadal and Ruud.  Photo German Garcia Adrasti


Many fans gathered in the Alto Palermo to see, even from afar, Nadal and Ruud. Photo German Garcia Adrasti

“It is a great illusion. I know that Gaby She is a great icon within this country and also within the world of sports and especially Latin sports,” said the 36-year-old Spaniard. “Sharing a track with her is a great satisfaction and illusion. It’s going to be nice for both Casper and me to live a moment like this in his country.”

A funny moment was experienced when they were both asked if -in their beginnings and now- they would like to change something about the sport to which they dedicate their lives.

“Selfishly, it’s better not to change anything, because the race has been good enough”, commented Rafa between laughs.

More seriously, he affirmed: “To me, personally, today I would like to see a more diverse tennis, that offers more styles of play. I think that because of the way it is played and because of how the courts and balls are made, the majority today plays in a very similar style. The speed and conditions we play in give you very little room to put into practice a different tactic or thought. Everything goes very fast and you have no opportunity to think. Tennis has changed, when I arrived to the circuit many years ago. It was played in a different way to what is played today and both I, Novak and Roger adapted and that allowed us to extend our careers a lot. But, nostalgically speaking, I like that old tennis better”.

Laughter between Nadal and Ruud after a response from the Norwegian, which generated an ironic reaction from the Spanish.  Photo EFE/Matias Martin Campaya


Laughter between Nadal and Ruud after a response from the Norwegian, which generated an ironic reaction from the Spanish. Photo EFE/Matias Martin Campaya

Ruud made a different interpretation of the question and shot the funniest moment of the afternoon.

“I would like to change a result in the history of tennis,” he began after thinking for a few long seconds. “And no, it wouldn’t be the end of Roland Garros this year, because that was not an even game (NdR: the Mallorcan defeated him 6-3, 6-3 and 6-0). I would say the final that he lost Raph with Novak in the australian open of 2012. I think I ended up sadder than him in that game. I watched television for six hours and I wanted Rafa to win. He was my idol. And I still hope that he would have won and I would like to change that result”, commented the Norwegian.

Nadal saw the opportunity and shot: “Well, maybe we could call Novak. Maybe he could return the trophy.” “I don’t think he would like it,” Ruud finished, among the laughter of the people.

Looking ahead to 2023

Looking ahead -beyond what will happen this Wednesday and in the rest of the tour-, the Norwegian, finalist this year in the French Grand Slam, in the US Open and, last week, in the Master of TurinHe commented that he feels that he has not yet touched his ceiling and that he is very happy that it is.

"I still have a lot of room for improvement and I like it.  I'm happy that I'm not a complete player yet"Ruud assured.  Photo German Garcia Adrasti


“I still have a lot of room for improvement and I like it. I’m happy that I’m not a complete player yet,” Ruud said. Photo German Garcia Adrasti

“I had great results in 2022. And that gives me confidence for what’s to come. My goal at the beginning of the season was to reach the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam and I reached two finals, in which I lost to better players I was surprised. I am aware of my strengths, but I think I have to improve my level of tennis in general, be more aggressive, get on the net better, gain more experience… I still have a lot of room for improvement and I like it. I am happy that I am still not a complete player”, he commented.

Nadal had a fierce start this year (with consecrations in Melbourne, the australian openAcapulco and Roland Garros (where he reached his 22nd Grand Slam) and closed as escort for his compatriot Carlos Alcaraz in the ranking. And he affirmed that he hopes to be able to fight for the big titles again in 2023.

“My enthusiasm for moving forward is intact. I’ve had difficult months, with physical problems. I’ve been a father recently, something I don’t know how it will impact my career in the future. I’m willing to work, to get in shape. I needed them games these first six months because the injuries did not allow me to spend more time on the circuit”, said the Spaniard. “My first goal is to spend more days on tour, to have real options to compete for the things that really excite me.”

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