Rotterdam tournament director Richard Krajicek recently showered rich praise on Rafael Nadal, and claimed that the Spaniard's presence would elevate the event significantly. Krajicek also gave his opinion on Roger Federer’s much-awaited comeback, which many believe could take place at Rotterdam.
Krajicek is a former World No. 4 who also has a Wimbledon title (1996) to his name. The Dutchman is currently serving as the director of the ABN AMRO Rotterdam ATP 500 Open, which is scheduled to take place in the first week of March this year.
Rafael Nadal has confirmed his participation in the event, and Krajicek has made no secret of his respect for the World No. 2. In a recent interaction Krajicek highlighted Nadal’s unique qualities, which he believes will take his tournament to another level.
“It's no secret that Rafael Nadal is there,” Krajicek said. “(He is) one of my favorite players of all time. The intensity he brings to the field is unprecedented. His fighting spirit as well as his technique is an example for everyone. The fact that he is coming back to Rotterdam after so many years makes this tournament special."
Roger Federer is widely expected to follow his good friend Rafael Nadal to Rotterdam, but Krajicek believes that his event might be a bit too early for the Swiss legend. According to the Dutchman, Federer is more likely to make his return in the week after the Rotterdam Open - at Doha.
“I think Roger will play in Doha, the week after Rotterdam,” Krajicek added. “But if he's fit and ready to play, we will hear from him.”
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal's history at the Rotterdam Open
Roger Federer is a three-time champion at Rotterdam, having won the title in 2005, 2012 and 2018. The 20-time Grand Slam champion was also runner-up in 2001, losing to Nicolas Escude in the final.
Federer defeated his current coach Ivan Ljubicic (2005), Juan Martin del Potro (2012) and Grigor Dimitrov (2018) in the finals of his three triumphs.
Rafael Nadal, on the other hand, boasts of just one final appearance at this event, which came in 2009. The Spaniard lost to Andy Murray that year.
Nadal hasn't featured in the event since then. But now that tournaments are in short supply due to the pandemic, the Spaniard has decided to return to the Dutch city.
Needless to say, if Roger Federer also confirms his participation, this will be one of the most-watched ATP 500 events of the year.