Rafa Nadal faces today the ‘hard test’ with his friend Grigor Dimitrov

“He is a friend, a good person”, means first Rafael Nadal when the Bulgarian appears today Grigor dimitrov. “We have had great battles, it will be a tough test for me. I will have to be well prepared and I hope to be ”, he adds.

The Balearic Islands highlights the human conditions of one of the occasional visitors to the academy in Manacor and enhances the sporting stature of someone who was once called ‘Baby Fed’ for a style similar to that of Federer, who also acquired fame for being the sentimental partner of his colleague Maria Sharapova or the singer Nicole scherzinger.

A Dimitrov, who did not reach the target, because he looked like a Grand Slam contender, but was in the world top-3 conquering the ATP Finals of 2017, his eighth and last ATP Tour title for now.

Nadal talks about great matches with Dimitrov. You are right, because there are, especially two in the Australian Open. The quarters of 2014, resolved in his favor by 3-6, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (7) and 6-2, and the huge semifinals of 2017, which he won by 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-7 (4) and 6-4.

Real difficulties for Rafa, as in other hard court duels, a surface on which he yielded in the quarterfinals. Beijing 2016 (6-2 and 6-4). However, it is his only defeat in fourteen matches to Dimitrov, whom he has beaten adequately five times on clay, three in Monte Carlo, where the Bulgarian is permanently residing.

Pista Rainiero III (11.00 am)

S. Tsitsipas (Gre / 4) -C. Garin (Chi / 16)

N. Djokovic (Srb / 1) -D. Evans (GBR)

G. Dimitrov (Bul / 14) -R. Nadal (Esp / 3)

A. Rublev (Rus / 6) -R. Bautista (Esp / 9)

Track of the Princes (11.00 am)

L. Pouille (Fra) -A. Davidovich (Esp)

D. Goffin (Bel) -A. Zverev (Ale / 5)

F. Fognini (Ita / 15) -F. Krajinovic (Srb)

C. Ruud (Nor) -P. Carreño (Esp / 12)

Nadal, 34 years old and world No. 3, meets again in the Principality with Dimitrov, 29 years old and No. 17, for the fourth time, the third in a row. Of the quarters of 2013 (6-2, 2-6 and 6-4) at ‘Semis’ of 2018 (6-4 and 6-1) and the eighth of 2019 (6-4 and 6-1). Rafa will surely aim the other way around at one of Grigor’s hand, it is part of his universal tactic.

The eleven-time Monte Carlo champion (2005 to 2012 and 2016 to 2018) will fight to be in the quarterfinals in 15 of his 16 previous appearances. He only failed in his premiere, in 2003 and falling in the second round against the Argentine Guillermo Coria, whom he would beat two editions later in the final. He did not attend in 2014 due to injury.

If he beats Dimitrov again, Nadal will meet the survivor of the duel between Roberto Bautista (33 years old and 11th ATP) and the Russian Andrey Rublev (23 years old and 8th ATP). In the previous balance, 3-2 from Castellón, 0-1 on the ground and 1-0 this year, in the Doha semis (6-3 and 6-3).

The world number one, Novak Djokovic, champion of the tournament in 2013 and 2015, will face the British Dan Evans for the first time, waiting for a few quarters against the German Alexander Zverev or the Belgian David Goffin.