Rafael Nadal will compete at the 2021 Barcelona Open, which takes place from 17 to 25 April this year. The tournament is held at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona-189, where the Centre Court is named after the 20-time Grand Slam winner.
This year will mark Nadal's 16th appearance at the tournament, which he has won 11 times so far. Tournament Director David Ferrer, who is also a former World No. 3, recently expressed his delight at the presence of his compatriot in the 2021 edition.
"Rafa's presence in Barcelona is very important for the tournament and it will be even more so after the cancellation of last year's edition," Ferrer said.
David Ferrer also opined that it is a privilege to watch Rafael Nadal in action, especially since the 34-year-old doesn't have a lot of time left on the tour.
"What Rafael Nadal has done throughout his career is something amazing and unique," Ferrer said. "We must explain to all the fans that what we have seen with this player is not going to be repeated. Rafa is a legend of this sport and we have to enjoy him while we can."
2021 marks the 68th edition of the Barcelona Open, and the organizers are expected to confirm more players in the weeks ahead. Dominic Thiem won Barcelona in 2019, but the event was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rafael Nadal once went 42 consecutive matches unbeaten at the Barcelona Open
Over the course of his 15-year Barcelona run, Rafael Nadal has accumulated a record of 61 wins and 4 losses at the ATP 500 event.
Nadal was beaten in the semifinals of the 2019 edition by eventual winner Thiem. His other losses in the Spanish city have come in 2015 to Fabio Fognini (third round), in 2014 to Nicolas Almagro (quarterfinals), and in his debut in 2003 to Alex Corretja (second round).
Rafael Nadal won the Barcelona Open eight times in a row between 2005 to 2013, and at one point had won 42 consecutive matches at the tournament.
Nadal has played only one event this year - the Australian Open - where he lost in the quarterfinals to Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Spaniard has been hampered by a back injury, due to which he pulled out of the ATP Cup, the Rotterdam event, and most recently, the Miami Masters.