Rafael Nadal set for big rankings climb after Madrid Open farewell run

Ewan West
Rafael Nadal of Spain in action against Jiri Lehecka of Czech Republic during the Mutua Madrid Open 2024, ATP Masters 1000 and WTA 1000, tournament celebrated at Caja Magica on April 30, 2024 in Madrid, Spain
Rafael Nadal reacts during a match

Rafael Nadal is set make a considerable jump in the ATP Rankings following his extremely positive run to the fourth round of the 2024 Madrid Open.  

The legendary Spaniard was defeated 7-5, 6-4 by Jiri Lehecka in Madrid in what was likely his last ever match in his home country.

Nadal crushed Darwin Blanch 6-1, 6-0 in the opening round, overcame Alex de Minaur 7-6(6), 6-3 in the second round, and battled past Pedro Cachin 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-3 in the third round.

The 37-year-old was playing just the second tournament of his latest comeback from injury in Madrid, having returned from over three months out at the Barcelona Open in April.

In Barcelona, Nadal eased past Flavio Cobolli in the first round, before falling to de Minaur. Prior to beating Cobolli, the ‘King of Clay’ had not played a match on his favourite surface since beating Casper Ruud in the 2022 French Open final almost two years earlier.

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Prior to his return to action this spring, Nadal had not featured since the Brisbane International in January, where he played his first tournament in almost a year.

Nadal suffered a serious hip injury at the 2023 Australian Open that required surgery and ruled him out for the remainder of the season.

Given Nadal’s injury-enforced inactivity in recent years, the former world No 1 was ranked 512th in the world heading into Madrid.

With the 100 points earned from his three victories at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament, he has climbed 207 places to a position of world No 305 in the Live ATP Rankings.

Nadal now has 175 points from the six victories he has earned across Brisbane, Barcelona and Madrid, and he could make another big leap if he has a fruitful run at the Italian Open.

The Mallorcan is due to compete at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Rome, which will be held from May 8 to 19, before a potential final appearance at the French Open.

Nadal, who has revealed 2024 will likely be his last year in tennis, is yet to confirm whether he will compete at the Roland Garros. He last won a tournament when he claimed his 14th French Open title and 22nd Grand Slam crown overall at the 2022 edition of Roland Garros.

The ‘King of Clay’ is set to be unseeded if he does play at the Paris major, meaning he could face any player as early as the opening round. A first round showdown between Nadal and one of Novak Djokovic, Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz is a staggering prospect.

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