"I was really nervous, I also wasn't feeling so well": Darwin Blanch on Rafael Nadal showdown in Madrid

Saturday, 27 April 2024 at 04:30
Most aspiring tennis players never get to play their idols if they make it to the ATP Tour. However, 16-year old Darwin Blanch was able to accomplish this feat, as he faced legendary Spaniard Rafael Nadal at the 2024 Madrid Open.
Ranked 1,028th in the world, the American teenager received a wild card entry to compete in Madrid. To his great surprise, he was drawn to face Nadal in the opening round. A difficult prospect for anyone, Blanch stood little chance against the 22-time Grand Slam champion on his home court. Nadal prevailed in a 6-1 6-0 victory in just 64 minutes, but Blanch did get to live out his dream.

Facing Nadal was a surreal moment, says Blanch

“I was really nervous," admitted Blanch after the match. "Really nervous, but I was just telling myself just to go and enjoy it, do the best I could, and I was going to be proud of myself, however the match went.
"Obviously it wasn’t my best day level-wise. I feel like I wasn’t able to bring out my best level. I also wasn’t feeling so well or anything, but obviously, you know, it was obviously a really, really good experience.
“I was really happy to be able to play Nadal in a stadium like this. So yeah, I’m going to try to take the most of it and hopefully I can, you know, bring out my level next time. I’m just here just for the experience. The result is not really the most important right now. So I’m going to learn and just try to apply it for my next matches."

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