PHOTOS: Rafael Nadal loses to Alexander Zverev in Madrid Open quarterfinals

Rafael Nadal’s bid for a sixth Madrid Open is over after he was beaten by Alexander Zverev in the quarter-final. He lost 6-4, 6-4 to the towering German in front of home crowd as he suffered his second clay-court loss of the season. Zverev also won the pair’s two most recent indoor hard-court meetings at the 2019 ATP Finals and last year’s Rolex Paris Masters in straight sets.

After the match, Rafa said:

“I had the match under control at the beginning, playing well for six games, probably playing better than him, than serving for 5-2, I did a disaster, and then another bad game with my serve with 30-love, and then of course facing one of the best players in the world, under these circumstances, with this speed of the court, it’s very difficult to still be confident. Yeah I tried but the serve was difficult to control today, and well done for him.” (via Tennis Majors)

Our champ’s defeat on the Madrid clay comes just three weeks before he bids for a 14th French Open title in Paris.


  1. Probably his worst year. Non mentionable pre clay.
    In 2017 he won 3/4 (MC, Barc, Madrid) before the FO, 2018 ditto (MC, Barc, Italy), 2019 SF SF SF before winning Italy. So hes at 2019 stage now, but appears a lot more beatable this year,,,,dunno why.
    That too his HC losses (Medvi WTF and Stafanos AO, were from winning positions).
    Get it together champ……..recreate 2019. We dont want to see 2015 ever.

  2. “Roger Federer, the Swiss 20-time Grand Slam champion, recently became an unpaid spokesman for Switzerland Tourism. In a Zoom call from his home in Switzerland’s Graubünden canton, he explained why travelers should visit his country when it reopens.” [Source: NYTimes]

    Roger loves hiking and did a lot of it after his knee surgery.

  3. Wish Rafa would get a proper mental coach!!! He needs one!!!

    Rafa is really having it very tough this year. Hope he can face and accepts all his weaknesses and make changes soon!

    Good luck!

    Love you!

    VAMOS pleeeeeeease!


  4. Rafa had better get it together from the word go in Rome as he’s got a tricky draw.

    Rafa’s potential route to the final

    1R Bye
    2R Sinner
    3R Ruud
    QF Zverev
    SF Goffin/ Schwartzman
    F Djokovic

      • Mimi, straight talking Ashleigh:

        WTA Insider
        Barty on the bagel: “She takes the ball out of my court & takes the racquet out of my hand when she serves the way she did in the 1st set.

        “I guarantee it won’t be the last time that it happens. I’ll continue to fight and try to find a way back in each and every time.” #MMOPEN

      • Margo, I understand hahaha. I am ready for Rome. Vamos Rafa💪🍀🎾❤️

        A. Sabalenka reminds me of Serena when she was at her peak.

  5. Covid. It has stopped us in our tracks and forced us to re-assess our lives.
    What do we value? Whom do we value? How do we survive? Every thinking human must have
    questioned his own purpose and motivation. And Rafael Nadal is no different. He wondered if he wanted to play when Spain had been brutally affected-lost lives, lost livelihoods. If you live and play with great passion, you cannot be unaffected. Rafa has stated that he would give up his French Open title if it could have erased Covid. Covid did not lose the match, but it is omnipresent right now. Thiem took some time out earlier in the year for his “brain”. Z wants to prove himself despite the virus. However, Nadal has said, post Madrid, “..the objective before Roland Garros is to go to Rome and win it..” ‘nuff said. Let’s do it. 🎾🍀❤️

  6. WTA world No. 1 Ashley Barty was served a bagel in the first set by Sabalenka in their Madrid final. Barty came back to win the second set 6-3. They are now in the decider with Barty ahead 3-2.

  7. ….However, the ease with which Zverev was holding serve compared to Rafa made me worry…..

  8. I’ve read all the different comments and analyses about Rafa’s loss. Yes, Rafa was doing a good job at keeping Zverev at bay until the seventh game in the first set. However, the ease with which Zverev was holding serve compared to Rafa. He looked so relaxed on each point and he was the better tactician by far.

    It’s true what Rafa says, when he’s down in the score he often finds a way back to win (on clay at least), but it was a different story in this match because he was unable to boss the rallies, especially the longer ones, and this must have been definitely frustrating.

    Looking at Zverev’s play : strong serving, good movement, solid backhand as usual, much improved forehand which Rafa couldn’t breakdown and courage to come forward.

    Zverev gave Rafa so much to think about as well as coping with the conditions at altitude, to which Zverev was much better suited.

    All in all, a lot of credit has to be given to Zverev who knows how to win in Madrid and has just gone on to win emphatically against Dominic Thiem in a similar fashion.

    Let’s hope that Rafa can get his mojo back in Rome.

  9. Does anyone find the following confusing?

    Rafa: “I think for most of the first set, I was playing better than him. And this is the negative part; while playing better than him in the first set, I still lost 6-4.

    “This is very difficult to understand, especially for me. When this happens to me, it’s usually in the opposite way – I find a way to win sets even though I’m not playing my best or as good as the opponent.”

    • Margo, I don’t find it confusing in context. Rafa was playing better the first set until he lost his serve in the 7th game. Rafa wins most of the time. Its just a fact. So he often wins even though he isn’t playing well or not as well as his opponent. That’s his reality and explains his “confusion” when he loses.

      I disagree with Marijnt’s analysis on two points. First, Rafa is not in denial. He and Moya know he is not playing up to his usual standards. Rafa acknowledged in his comments that his serve is not under control.

      I also disagree on where he stands to receive serve. Its rare that he moves up. He did so against Nole to win his 13th French Open. Sascha has an incredible serve, probably the most difficult of all of Rafa’s rivals.

      I agree with the Tennis Channel commentators that Rafa should have been looking to move up once the rallies got under way. He was giving too much respect to Sascha to have a chance to win.

      Rafa still has time to get his game going for Roland-Garris. In any case this year will be the most wide open French Open in many years.

      • David, regarding Rafa’s statement I went through that mentally before posting.

        He said he “didn’t understand” when he lost to Rublev at MC saying his practices went fine. Now he “doesn’t understand” how/why he lost to Zverev.

        I hope this doesn’t develop into a pattern.

        Wishing him another win in Rome which would lift his confidence and chances for a 14th FO trophy.

  10. Rafa is enjoying a beautiful day of relaxation on his catamaran before flying to Rome tomorrow.

    He might face Sinner on Wednesday and Zverev in the QF.

    BEST for the tournament Rafa.

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