The Godó presents a “memorable and epic” poster: Alcaraz will defend the title in the face of Nadal’s uncertainty | Tennis | Sports

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David Ferrer needed two words to describe the 71st edition of the Conde de Godó Trophy. “Memorable and epic,” said the director of the Catalan tournament in reference to the presence of the two main figures of Spanish tennis: Carlos Alcaraz and Rafael Nadal. The competition is preparing to blow out the candles of the 125th anniversary of the Real Club de Tenis de Barcelona. A celebration that will embrace the city of Barcelona between April 13 and 21, and that presents a lineup with five tennis players in the top 10 —Andrey Rublev, Alex De Miñaur and Casper Ruud, in addition to the two Spaniards—, and eight in the 20 Among them could not be missing the current champion of the tournament: Alcaraz will try to revalidate his title and thus achieve his third win. Another great headliner, but still with questions, is Nadal – top winner of the ATP 500 with 12 trophies –, pending the progress of his back discomfort that made him withdraw from Indian Wells. Both had only met in Barcelona in 2021.

“We are one of the few events that will bring five tennis players from the top 10. We know that the best come, but we always want more,” Ferrer confessed. The Born Culture and Memory Center dressed up to announce the list of participants with three remaining wild card more, which will be known in the coming weeks. Among the tennis players will be Stefanos Tsitsipas – three-time finalist of the tournament and number 11 in the world – and the Spaniards Alejandro Davidovich, Roberto Carballés and Jaume Munar. Ferrer also announced the presence of a veteran champion as a guest at the competition: the Japanese Kei Nishikori, double winner of the tournament – 2014 and 2015 – and former top 10. Although this year the Pedralbes club will not have the visit of Jannik Sinner.

One of the most anticipated presences is, without a doubt, that of Alcaraz. “He is a special and different player,” said Ferrer about the current champion of the Barcelona tournament and great favorite. The young man from Murcia, who was able to defend his Indian Wells title last Sunday against Daniil Medvedev, will have the same mission in Barcelona, ​​where he will try to win his third title in what will be his fifth participation. In the last edition he did not encounter any type of opposition, and won without giving up a single set in the entire tournament. The current world number two will try to repeat his Barcelona-Madrid double.

This year, however, he could have his idol in front of him: Rafa Nadal, who will play with the status of protected ranking, and, therefore, seeded. The Spaniard – twelve times champion of the tournament – ​​will return to the club that saw him grow as a tennis player and that named the center court after him. Nadal has not played in Catalan soil since 2021, when he beat the Greek Tsitsipas in the final, although the reality is that his participation is still unknown: it will depend on his feelings, full of doubts since the season began and which prolong the uncertainty about Her future. After withdrawing before stepping on the hard court of Indian Wells – his third withdrawal of the season – due to back discomfort, the man from Manaco hopes to arrive in the best conditions for the clay court tour, with his sights fixed on Roland Garros. “I think he is focused on Monte Carlo, which is the first clay tournament he is going to play. And when he finishes, knowing Rafa, he will be thinking about Godó. We will have to see how he evolves,” Ferrer acknowledged. And he added: “The dirt tour is very important for him, and if he does not have physical problems, he will be among the best.”

“Some say we are different. But it is the people who make us special,” said a nostalgic video in which the 125 years of the club were remembered. The Real Club de Tenis de Barcelona hosts one of the longest and most special tournaments of the season due to its close ties with its members and because it takes place in the same facilities of the Catalan venue, in the upper part of Barcelona. “We seek a positive experience for everyone who comes to see us: players, sponsors, partners and the public. We call it the Disney effect,” confessed Jordi Cambra, president of the club. However, the shadow of Saudi money is established around professional tennis. His possible incursion would grant a Master 1000 to the Saudi country, which would be the tenth of the season in a calendar that would be even more narrow. “The tournaments that are premium will have to fight to continue being so and Barcelona is one of the options to be so,” said Xavier Pujol, executive director of Godó.

The next edition will have several challenges. The first will be to surpass the records for attendance, television audience and sponsors that the tournament enjoyed last year. And the second, confront the drought that threatens Catalonia. To do this, they will have a new gray and rainwater reuse project to be more sustainable. “We can proudly say that it is the best ATP 500 in the world,” said Pujol about a tournament full of symbolism and where the best tennis players will once again parade on the Catalan clay.

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