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Nadal wary of Wawrinka challenge in Madrid quarter-finals - 'I need to add something else'

Andrew Hendrie in ATP Tour 10 May 2019
  • Rafael Nadal vs Stan Wawrinka is live from Madrid around 9.30pm local time on Friday (8.30pm BST)
  • Nadal has won their last four matches without dropping a set, but he says he needs to raise his level to win for an 18th time over the Swiss on Friday
Rafael Nadal (PA Images)

Rafael Nadal has beaten Stan Wawrinka 17 times throughout his career, but the great Spaniard knows he will have to raise his level ahead of their quarter-final showdown in the Madrid Masters on Friday night.

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As he does over the majority of players, Nadal holds a dominant 17-3 record over Wawrinka throughout their careers and has won their last four meetings without dropping a set. It doesn’t get much more convincing than that, but considering the pair’s respective form lines this week, Nadal realises the need to find an extra gear as the pair prepare to square off on Friday night at the Caja Magica.

“It’s a tough one. He’s [Wawrinka] one of the best players in the world. He likes to play in these conditions, fast, altitude, big serve, big shots. It’s in this kind of match that I need to play my best. I need to add something else, and I hope to be ready to make that happen,” Nadal said.

Nadal has advanced into the Madrid quarter-finals for the 12th time without dropping a set in beating young guns Felix Auger-Aliassime and Frances Tiafoe, but he wasn’t at his dominant best in either of those matches, following on from surprise defeats to Fabio Fognini and Dominic Thiem in the semi-finals of Monte-Carlo and Barcelona respectively.

Stan Wawrinka (PA Images)
Those two players are capable of beating anyone on their day - and both have conquered Nadal before - but relatively speaking, they were each major upsets. Working his way back from a knee injury that forced him to withdraw before the Indian Wells semi-finals in March, Nadal is still searching for his best form and that will give Wawrinka confidence for the quarter-finals.

The Swiss knows all about injury problems - Wawrinka is trying to recapture his top level since undergoing double knee surgery midway through 2017.


After falling to No. 261 in the world this time last year, Wawrinka has clawed his way back up to a current mark of No. 34 after finishing runner-up in Rotterdam earlier this season and making the quarter-finals of the Cincinnati Masters last year.

Wawrinka, a runner-up in Madrid to Nadal in 2013, has played some of his best tennis since returning from surgery this week in the Spanish capital, progressing to the quarter-finals without dropping a set in wins over Pierre-Hugues Herbert, Guido Pella and sixth seed Kei Nishikori - but he knows facing Nadal on clay is arguably the toughest test we’ve ever seen in this sport.

“Rafa, it's a challenge to play him on the clay court. I have played him many times. It's always difficult to play him,” Wawrinka said. “I'm happy with the way I'm playing so far. I'm happy to be in the quarter-finals again, gaining confidence little by little. I know I'm playing well. I know I'm physically good, so we will see.”

The pair have only played once since Wawrinka returned from injury last year, with Nadal prevailing 7-5 7-6(4) in the Canada Masters in August. Nadal has won seven of their eight meetings on clay, with Wawrinka’s lone victory coming in 2015 in Rome.


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Nadal wary of Wawrinka challenge in Madrid quarter-finals - "I need to add something else"

Rafael Nadal has beaten Stan Wawrinka 17 times throughout his career, but the great Spaniard knows he will have to raise his level ahead of their quarter-final showdown in the Madrid Masters on Friday night.

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