"He always comes back": Stefanos Tsitsipas happy to be proven wrong after Rafael Nadal brands Barcelona prediction 'stupid'

Friday, 19 April 2024 at 14:15
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Rafael Nadal branded the prediction of Stefanos Tsitsipas that he would reach the Barcelona Open final 'stupid'. The Greek responded to that after taking down Roberto Carballes Baena to reach the Quarter-Finals as he battles himself for back-to-back titles this fortnight.
Tsitsipas' reasoning was based around his clay court prowess and how a player of that calibre can just flick a switch and return to his best. Especially given that he has won Barcelona 12-times previously.
“I would say that Rafa, regardless of whether he hasn’t played at all or if that’s his first tournament, we all know what Rafa is capable of and how quickly he can adjust to one of his favourite surfaces, which is a clay court,” said the 25-year-old. "I would not be surprised if we saw Rafa be in the finals of Barcelona, because that is something that he has done over and over again for years and years and years."
“What he does have is this competitiveness and this fierce tennis when he gets into the momentum that sometimes feels like on the outside perspective like unstoppable. On court, things feel different, because you get the feeling of his ball. When you’re watching, you just get a visual sensation, but I have all six sensations enabled and activated when I have to face him. I think he’s the ultimate challenge on clay.”
Nadal then responded to this notion by Tsitsipas saying that others know that he isn't a favourite anymore. "At the moment, it seems stupid to me, realistically. He knows that’s not the case, but I understand that out of respect for what I’ve done at this tournament why he is saying that,” said the Spaniard. "As of today, everybody knows that I’m not the favourite to try to win a tournament. There is a history behind that I guess that weighs, but today I’m not favourite.”
But Tsitsipas was pleased to be proven wrong while also naming that Alex de Minaur was a favourite. Albeit the Australian then lost so perhaps his predictions aren't an omen.“I don’t mind being wrong, I’m not here to bet or make predictions. Rafa has had some injuries in the past but he always comes back,” the two-time Grand Slam finalist told reporters after his second round win on Wednesday.
“Especially since it was in Barcelona, his favourite tournament, at home. I saw a little bit of the match, I would say that de Minaur and three or four other players will fight for the title here.”

8-0 on clay so far this year 16-1 in the 17 sets he played, losing one only to the #1 player in the race Sinner Stefanos Tsitsipas keeps going in his perfect clay season so far 7-5 6-3 vs. Roberto Carballes to reach the ATP 500 Barcelona QFs


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