Rafael Nadal at practice, Madrid 2016

After two victories in two weeks in Monte Carlo and Barcelona, Rafael Nadal lost to defending champion Andy Murray in the Madrid Open semifinals. Next tournament for Rafa: Rome, where he could face Djokovic in the quarterfinals.

A few pictures from Nadal’s practices this week in Madrid:

Rafael Nadal at practice, Madrid 2016

Rafael Nadal at practice, Madrid 2016
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Olympic gold medallist Rafael Nadal

14-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal was named Spain’s flagbearer for the opening ceremony of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics Games:

Nadal was chosen as the country’s flag bearer for the 2012 London Games, but had to pull out with an injury and was replaced by his friend Pau Gasol.

“For me it was an amazing feeling when I was told I would carry [the flag] in 2012. It was terrible news when I had to pull out of London. I’ve missed Grand Slams and Davis Cups in my career but the toughest thing was the 2012 Olympics.”

Rafa won the gold in Beijing in 2008 and it remains one of the biggest moments of his career:

“To see the Spanish flag being raised to the accompaniment of the national anthem as I stood on the winner’s podium: well, it was one of my life’s proudest moments.”

Stay tuned for more Olympics coverage on Tennis Buzz.

Rafael Nadal posing with the trophy, Barcelona Open 2016

Nadal defeated Nishikori in two tight sets 6-4 7-5 to claim his second title in two weeks. With his victory, he equals Guillermo Vilas’ record of 49 clay court titles.

Nadal: “It was a very close match. There were a lot of chances for both of us but I think I have been solid. When you play against players with such a high level, the match is often decided by a few moments. So I feel happy that I handled all these important moments well mentally.”

Final del Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell: Rafa Nadal - Kei Nishikori

Final del Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell: Rafa Nadal - Kei Nishikori
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Rafa Nadal, Barcelona Open 2016

Rafa admitted he played his worst match of the tournament in the semifinal, but it was still enough to defeat Kohlschreiber in straight sets and advance to the final.
Nadal aims to clinch his record ninth Barcelona title, while Nishikori seeks to become the third player in history (after Mats Wilander and Rafael Nadal) to lift the Conde de Godo Trophy three years in a row.

Escort Kids

Escort Kids con Rafael Nadal

Escort Kids con Rafael Nadal

Escort Kids con Nadal y Kohlschreiber

Jornada del 24/04/2016 en la 64º edición del Barcelona Open Banco Sabadell

Rafael Nadal entre la marea de aficionados

Kei Nishikori is the two-time defending champion:

Kei Nishikori alzando el 62 Trofeo Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell

Entrega del trofeo del Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell

Rafa Nadal won the tournament 8 times, the last time in 2013:

Final Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell Trofeo Conde de Godó

Nishikori or Nadal, who do you think will win?

Photo credit: Banc Sabadell

Rafael Nadal, Barcelona Open 2016

Rafael Nadal, who aims to lift his record ninth title in Barcelona, defeated Fabio Fognini in straight sets 6-2 7-6 to advance to the semifinal. With a win in the final on Sunday, he would equalize Guillermo Vilas record of 49 clay-court titles.

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal

Fabio Fognini

Nadal and Fognini

Rafael Nadal

Photo credit: Banco Sadabell