WATCH: Nadal Spotted Worryingly Gasping For Air During Practice In Madrid

WATCH: Nadal Spotted Worryingly Gasping For Air During Practice In Madrid

by Nurein Ahmed

Rafael Nadal's opening win at the 2024 Madrid Open was as comfortable as they come, but he endured what Spanish media called a "scary" moment in practice.

The five-time champion had been a doubt coming to Madrid and had raised concerns about his fitness before the tournament began. But he was at his free-flowing best in his first match, largely aided by playing the inexperienced young American Darwin Blanch.

The 16-year-old is a great talent and one of the players to watch on the junior tour. But he hardly laid a glove on the legendary lefty. Nadal, however, was not reading too much into the final score, despite dropping just one game all match.

But despite the lopsided scoreline, Nadal's preparations for the match might have extracted every kilojoule from his body, judging by the nature of his practice.

In a video shared by Spanish sports channel Teledeporte on X (formerly Twitter), the 37-year-old is spotted holding his knees for about half a minute while simultaneously breathing heavily after an intense practice session supervised by his coach, Carlos Moya.

Nadal eventually stood straight to take coaching instructions from his team. However, some of his fans were concerned about his body language and shared their reactions in the comments.

One user wrote, "It's rather unusual to see Nadal hunched over like this, unless immediately after a very intense point. This is definitely concerning. I think today's match will tell us about where he is physically."

The 22-time Grand Slam champion is not expecting the win over the American teenager whom he defeated in the first round to act as a launchpad to a productive tournament. He reiterated that he is still not playing at his absolute peak physical level.

Nadal will face a much sterner test against Alex de Minaur. It will be a rematch of their Barcelona meeting just a week ago, with the Australian coming out on top in straight sets.


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