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Read & Watch: Nadal’s Eyes Are Wide Open For 'Complicated' Felix Clash

Five-time champion Rafael Nadal isn’t one to take opponents lightly, and he’ll be prepared with eyes wide open when he meets #NextGenATP Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime on Wednesday in the Spanish capital.
The two have never met, but Nadal knows well what #NextGenATP Canadians can pull off at ATP Masters 1000 events. The Spaniard fell victim to then 18-year-old Denis Shapovalov at the 2017 Coupe Rogers in Montreal.
“[Felix] is a complicated opponent. He’s young. He’s played a couple of matches on clay this year already so he’s going to be a difficult opponent. So, at the end, for him here, everything is more even, due to the altitude, the conditions,” Nadal said.

The 18-year-old Auger-Aliassime reached the Rio Open presented by Claro final in February (l. to Djere) and beat Shapovalov to reach the second round in Madrid.
“I have to be fit. I have to be with a positive attitude, and hopefully my physical side will be there and then I will have to play tennis. If I play my tennis well, I’ll have possibilities and that is what I’m doing right now, what I’m trying to do,” Nadal said.
The second-seeded Nadal is seeking his first title of the season, after reaching the semi-finals at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters and Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell before losing to eventual champions Fabio Fognini and Dominic Thiem, respectively. The last time Nadal came into Madrid without winning Monte-Carlo or Barcelona was 2015.

“I would have liked to come here with four titles on clay in my bag, but no more pressure on my shoulders,” Nadal said. “Physically talking, well I try to do my best, look at the positive things, go step by step, look at the positive side of everything.
“[Barcelona] was a positive improvement for me and from thereon the trainings, I have been feeling better than the week in Barcelona and I think I’m on the right path. Whatever might happen tomorrow, we will see.”
The Spaniard had a stomach virus on Sunday but has been practising for at least 90 minutes.
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“Despite the stomach problems in the last days, I think that I’m more confident, I have more confidence in my body and I think I’m building up my game with more confidence and I’m feeling much better than two weeks ago when we started Monte-Carlo, so that has been a really good improvement for me,” Nadal said. “I’m again enjoying training and I enjoy playing each day and this is a very important step for me.”
Nadal’s home capital might be the place for a turnaround. He is 36-6 since the tournament moved to clay in 2009. “It is one of the most important tournaments in the world and is played in our country,” he said.

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Source: ATP World Tour

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