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The Masters 1000 in Madrid marks the return of a great champion, as well as one of the hosts: Rafael Nadal. After the injury in Indian Wells, the world number four has decided to stop to recover from the stress fracture in the rib suffered during the semifinal of the first 1000 tournament of the season. With this choice, the winner of twenty-one Grand Slam titles postponed the start of the season on clay, choosing Madrid as his debut ground, also marking a return home. Before making his debut on what is his surface, Nadal temporarily devoted himself to another sport: football. In fact, he kicked the first ball of the Real Madrid match, which won the match and the Spanish championship. At the end of the match, the Spanish champion wanted to talk about the great moment that Spanish tennis is experiencing, thanks to him and Carlos Alcaraz. The young Spaniard, in fact, is forging ahead with all the stages and is conquering the first important titles. Three finals for the newly entered Top 10 and three victories: two ATP 500 (Rio and Barcelona) and a Masters 1000 (Miami). “We had known for a long time that he was very good and that it was clear that the time would come when he was going to explode. I am very happy for him and for the sport of our country, we needed someone to continue the successes of Spanish tennis," said Nadal about Alcaraz's role for Spanish tennis. The top two Spanish players have already met this year. 

Justine Henin reflects on Nadal

After an injury break that kept him out of action for over a month, Rafael Nadal will return to action at the Madrid Open, which begins on May 1. Former Belgian great Justine Henin stressed that the Frenchman's desire to avenge his quarterfinal loss to Novak Djokovic will bring out the best in the Spaniard subject to him being physically prepared ahead of the tournament. "The question is, can he still win Roland-Garros at least once? If physically he is able to prepare properly, I think that the desire for revenge compared to the defeat in last year's semifinal will be huge. In Madrid, it's his home, even if it's not the tournament where he's at his best. In Madrid, the pitch is very compact and it depends on the playing conditions. Rafa often likes to have a little more space, that's why he is so comfortable at Roland-Garros."

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