"It will be a different match, Rafael Nadal is now more fit" - Coach Carlos Moya sends warning shot to Alex de Minaur ahead of Madrid rematch

Rafael Nadal (L) and Alex de Minaur (R)
Rafael Nadal (L) and Alex de Minaur (R)

Rafael Nadal takes on Alex de Minaur in the second round of the 2024 Madrid Open on Saturday, a rematch of their clash last week at the Barcelona Open. In Barcelona, De Minaur came out on top in straight sets.

This time, though, the Aussie should be prepared for a different Nadal, the Mallorcan's coach Carlos Moya has proclaimed. Speaking to the Madrid Open's Twitch channel, Moya emphasized that the rematch will be a lot different, as the former World No. 1 is now fitter and with more match practice.

In the first round, Nadal made easy work of American youngster Darwin Blanch, winning 6-1, 6-0 in 65 minutes. Following that performance from his ward, Moya is confident that he will be more competitve against De Minaur than he was in Barcelona.

"It will be a different match from Barcelona. There he did not see him prepared against a rival like Alex. I think tomorrow will be a little different. Without being ideal, I think we will see Rafa who has spent 8 days and that every minute he spends on the track is a minute of improvement," Moya said.
"He has spent more hours on the track, he is now more fit. I think that tomorrow we can have a more competitive game than the other day. I don't know if he will win, but within the team we are more sure of what we can see. It will be better than what we saw last week," he added.

"Many people do not know Rafael Nadal personally, but they have welcomed him as their own family" - Carlos Moya

Nadal (left)
Nadal (left)

Carlos Moya also spoke about Rafael Nadal approaching his last matches as a tennis professional, with 2024 likely to be his final year on the ATP Tour.

Moya recalled the love he has witnessed from fans towards the Spaniard, marveling at how many consider him a part of their own family even though they do not know him personally.

The former French Open admitted that Nadal is feeling a lot of adrenaline these days because he himself knows he's at the end of the line. Moya emphasized that it's a feeling one will not be able to experience after retirement and wished his protege all the best for the coming days.

"This has to be an opportunity for the people who are going to see him on the track. The magic he has alone on the track, with his presence. We must give him the tribute he deserves. Many people do not know him personally, but they have welcomed him as their own family. It's as if they ate with them in their homes," Moya said.
"You have to enjoy the time you have left on the track, value it, and know that repeating something like this is very difficult to happen. The adrenaline that he is feeling these days, that will not be felt again and he is enjoying it. That's something you miss when you're not active," he added.

What is the foot injury that has troubled Rafael Nadal over the years? Check here

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