The king of the land is back. Rafael Nadal starts this Wednesday in Monte Carlo, second Masters 1000 of the season after the cancellation of Indian Wells, his tour of the European tour on clay. The Balearic, eleven times champion in the Principality, starts against the Argentine Federico Delbonis (Third turn of the Central, around 3:00 p.m., and after the Djokovic-Sinner duel) the challenge of reconquering a tournament in which they lost in the semifinals in their last edition, in 2019, against Fabio Fognini in the end champion.
The 2020 edition of the event was canceled, with an atypical calendar drawn by the coronavirus pandemic. With the clay-court season shorter than normal and moved to fall, with Rome the only stop before Roland Garros, Nadal seeks that the return to the usual calendar also serves to seek sensations who usually accompany you during these dates.
Monte Carlo is the starting gun for the most important part of the season for the Balearic Islands. Barcelona, Madrid and Rome reconfigure their calendar in the campaign search from his fourteenth Roland Garros. Figures from another galaxy, although Nadal knows that the challenge of reaching them is to go step by step in the previous tournaments.
The match against Delbonis It is not only the start of the clay court season for Rafa, but also his return to competition. It has been almost two months since February 17th, day in which Nadal yielded to Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. It was on that Australian tour that he suffered back problems that prevented his participation in the ATP Cup. He played in Melbourne, but was unable to participate in the February hard court tournaments. Now, in its natural habitat, Nadal hopes to start catching that rhythm of competition that he could not have at the beginning of the year and that must be fundamental to face the overloaded calendar of this 2021, where the Tokyo Games join the usual roadmap.
A route that starts against the Argentine Federico Delbonis, a left-handed player who a priori is a good opportunity to start picking up pace in the tournament. Delbonis defeated this Tuesday Adrian mannarino for 7-5 and 6-1 to meet Nadal in the second round. It will be the fifth time that Spanish and Argentinian meet at the circuit. He’s always been good at Delbonis to Nadal, with ample results and without ever giving up a set. For this reason, Rafa will look for another victory that will also allow him to get a good feeling in the face of the challenges that he has pending this spring.