Rafael Nadal recalls: ‘Holding trophy in Acapulco again feels great’

In 2005, an 18-year-old Rafael Nadal stormed over the field in Acapulco to claim the third ATP title and gather momentum for one of the best seasons for teenagers in the Open era. Last year, Nadal competed in Acapulco as one of the greatest players of all time, the five-time year-end no. 1 and the winner of 19 Major crowns. The Spaniard was eager to go all the way at this event for the first time since 2013 when he became the last Acapulco champion on clay. Rafa defeated David Ferrer in the title clash in 2013 and had to wait for seven years to lift another trophy in Mexico.

Playing his last tournament before the pandemic, Nadal lost 25 games in ten sets in Acapulco to secure the 85th ATP title and lift the trophy for the first time since the 2019 US Open. Rafa played on a high level and did not lose more than three games in nine out of ten sets. In the final three matches, the Spaniard dominated against Soonwoo Kwon, Grigor Dimitrov and Taylor Fritz to secure the trophy and extend his record-breaking streak of 17 seasons with at least one ATP title. In the title clash, Nadal ousted Fritz 6-3, 6-2 in an hour and 14 minutes for his 22nd ATP title on hard.

Rafael nadal won the Acapulco title without losing a set last year.

Rafa lost only nine points behind the initial shot, taking down the only break point he faced and dominating the rival’s second serve to grab three breaks to sail over the finish line. The Spaniard had the upper hand in the shortest range up to four strokes and toppled the American in the more advanced exchanges to wrap up a perfect week and celebrate in Acapulco for the first time in seven years.

“I am pleased about my performance in Acapulco; it’s a significant title for me. It came after a bad start of the year and a very little rest following the Davis Cup Finals, giving me confidence ahead of the upcoming tournaments. Acapulco is one of the best events in the world, and it means even more to me after knowing I had not played well here in the last couple of years. We will celebrate the title and prepare for the next test in Indian Wells, hoping to keep the winning streak and fight for the trophy again,” Rafael Nadal said.