"Rafael Nadal takes young Branch to the woodshed" - Andre Agassi's ex-coach Brad Gilbert on Spaniard defeating Darwin Blanch at Madrid Open 1R clash

Rafael Nadal (L) and Darwin Blanch (R)
Rafael Nadal (L) and Darwin Blanch (R)

Andre Agassi's former coach, Brad Gilbert recently reacted to Rafael Nadal's victory over 16-year-old American Darwin Blanch in the first round of the 2024 Madrid Open.

Nadal kicked off his potentially last Madrid Open campaign with a resounding victory. He defeated wildcard Blanch with a score of 6-1, 6-0 in just over an hour at the Manolo Santana Stadium to secure his spot in the second round of the tournament, which he has previously won five times.

This match marked Blanch's second appearance on the ATP Tour, with his first being at the 2024 Miami Open where he faced Tomas Machac in the first round. The American struggled with 27 unforced errors, allowing the former World No.1 to secure his 57th win at the Madrid Open.

Reacting to Rafael Nadal's victory over Darwin Blanch, Brad Gilbert took to social media to express his thoughts. He stated that the Spaniard had completely outclassed Blanch, who, according to him, appeared "overwhelmed" during the match.

Gilbert also stated that the upcoming second-round match at the ATP Masters 1000 Madrid tournament, where the 37-year-old will face Alex de Minaur, will be "interesting" to watch.

"Vamos -Rafa takes young Branch to the woodshed who looked a bit overwhelmed, should be interesting vs little Demon 😈 again," Gilbert posted on X (formerly Twitter).

Alex de Minaur recently defeated Rafael Nadal in the second round of the 2024 Barcelona Open.

Rafael Nadal on Darwin Blanch: "Played against an opponent with a great future in front of him"

Mutua Madrid Open 2024
Mutua Madrid Open 2024

Following his win over 16-year-old Darwin Blanch at the 2024 Madrid Open, Rafael Nadal gave his thoughts on the match. He praised Blanch, stating that the American was a player with a "great future" ahead.

The Spaniard expressed his satisfaction with being able to advance in the tournament. He also extended his best wishes to Blanch for his future.

“I think today I played against an opponent with a great future in front [of him], but today, still making mistakes. I just tried to be there, be solid all the time without taking a lot of risks. It worked well. I’m happy to be through and I wish him all the very best for the future,” he said [va ATPTour.com].

Nadal also stated that it means a lot to him to play in front of an "unconditional supportive" crowd at the Madrid Open.

”It’s great after how things have developed the last few years, every time I have the chance to be on court in this amazing stadium with an unconditional supportive crowd, it means a lot to me. Just trying to enjoy every moment. Tomorrow, one more day of practise here and then after tomorrow, on court again. That makes me feel great,” he added.

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

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