2024 Barcelona Open ATP PREVIEW: Rafael NADAL return pending in draw headlined by RUBLEV, TSITSIPAS, DE MINAUR and RUUD

ATP
Sunday, 14 April 2024 at 15:05
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The Barcelona Open is up next in the ATP Calendar and is the main men's tournament to take place over the week of 15-21 April, 2024 with the draw currently and that is a very currently headlined by Rafael Nadal pending his decision to play or not.
David Ferrer who is tournament director for the Barcelona Open would've gone from delight to dejection when he snared both of the leading lights of Spanish tennis to the warm-up. Only for both to come into it injured or doubts in Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz. The latter has already fallen by the wayside. Our preview looks ahead to the draw with the main talking points going into this week.

Nadal - will he or won't he?

Rafael Nadal has ironically trained on the stadium that bares his name in the tournament that he has won 12 times and one that really feels like home especially now with the Mallorca Championships off the slate. But whether he plays or not is another matter entirely.
Nadal has made a point throughout recent weeks that he isn't sure whether he will play as much as he wants to. He hasn't been seen on court since the Netflix Slam in March and in competitive tournament action since the Brisbane International in January. Many aborted comeback attempts have came and went and he sits at a crossroads. Admitting during the Copa del Rey final that he is unlikely to play Barcelona and Madrid, his two home tournaments, it also adds pressure onto Nadal. Being his two home events, many would've bought tickets to see him.
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Will he won't he? Rafael Nadal is currently not sure whether he will return this next week causing headaches for Ferrer and co.
So even if he does make it onto court, how much of a Rafael Nadal show will we see? He won't play until Tuesday and so the decision will be imminent. As of time of writing on Sunday, he hasn't confirmed either way and he likely will decide after a final practice on Monday. While the rest of his body is ok, he has suffered with his serve in particular due to back issues and also abdominal problems. But a good sign is that he did take a 6-1 set off Andrey Rublev this week so he is in some good fettle at least partly. He opens up against Flavio Cobolli and could face Alex de Minaur in the second round.

Alcaraz blow as Rublev, Tsitsipas and Ruud lead the way

But while Nadal could play in Barcelona, Carlos Alcaraz will not. The current kingpin of Spanish tennis has had an issue with his right forearm in the past week and like Nadal, tournament directors will have been holding their breath. A defending champion in Barcelona, he will not defend his title. He decided earlier on Sunday to withdraw and seemingly will instead focus on a race against time to be ready for Madrid.
But instead Andrey Rublev of aforementioned 6-1 loss to Nadal fame will now lead the field. Alongside two players who have been in action this week and will play in the final. Stefanos Tsitsipas and Casper Ruud will face off shortly in the Monte-Carlo Masters final. So whether one or both late withdraw could yet cause nightmares for the tournament. Alex de Minaur, Ugo Humbert, Karen Khachanov among others are also set to be involved this week.

🇪🇸💪 Rafael Nadal’s 2024 Barcelona Open Draw: R1 - Cobolli R2 - De Minaur R3 - Popyrin/Fils QF - Humbert/ADF SF - Tsitsipas/Alcaraz F - Ruud/Rublev/Khachanov Rafa has NOT decided yet whether to play the tournament, and will continue to test his level. Debut on Tuesday at 4pm.

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