Aiming to make a strong comeback to the ATP tour, Dominic Thiem looked positive and upbeat at the practice courts a day before his opening match at the Madrid Open 2021. After a blockbuster season last year, wherein he won his first Grand Slam title at the US Open and ended the year with a runners-up title at the ATP Final, Thiem has struggled to get going in 2021. The Austrian star will have a disappointing Round 4 exit at the Australian Open, a quarter-final loss in Qatar and a shocking first-round loss in Dubai to contend with as he comes into this tournament hoping to get back into form.
In a video shared by the ATP, World No.4 Dominic Thiem can be seen keeping a close watch on Nadal as he sweats it out in the practice court ahead of his first match of the series. The top seed in Madrid after his title win at the Barcelona Open, Nadal will be the one to beat as Thiem looks at winning his first title since the US Open 2020. In good spirits as he prepares to take on USA's Marcos Giron on May 4, Thiem could be heard commenting on Nadal, saying that he was a "decent player" before laughing at his own comments — for Nadal has a record 5 titles in Madrid.
Having received a Round 1 bye as the top seed at the Mutua Madrid Open 2021, Rafael Nadal will play his first game at the tournament against his young compatriot Carlos Alcaraz Garfia. A wildcard entry into the tournament and a decisive 6-4, 6-0 win over Adrian Mannarino in the first round has led to Alcaraz Garfia setting up an early meeting with the great Rafael Nadal. The Carlos Alcaraz Garfia vs Rafael Nadal match will begin on May 5 — which also happens to be the youngster's 18th birthday.
After winning the French Open in 2020 — taking the Rafael Nadal Grand Slams tally to a massive 20 titles — the Spaniard joined long-time rival Roger Federer at the top of the ATP's list of 'Most Grand Slam titles'. Having failed to capture his double career Grand Slam at the Australian Open earlier in the year, the King of Clay will be pleased with how he has fared on the clay courts of Europe so far this season. With the Rafael Nadal French Open 2021 campaign set to begin in May this year, the GOAT will be aiming for a career 21st Grand Slam title and his 14th title at the tournament.