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TENNIS

Tummy bug won’t stop Rafa Nadal from playing Madrid Open

Five-time champion Rafael Nadal acknowledged that he will be counting on his physical reserves when he makes his Madrid Open start Wednesday as he recovers from a stomach virus.

Tummy bug won't stop Rafa Nadal from playing Madrid Open
Photo: AFP

The second seed will get his campaign for a sixth Madrid title under way with a first-time meeting with Canada's fast-rising teenager Felix Augur-Aliassime, in the second round.

The Spaniard, who turns 33 next month during Roland Garros, said that while he might not be at 100 percent for the match, he will go in fighting.   

“I've been going through a virus. The positive side is: I've been able to train at least an hour-and-a-half (per session),” Nadal said.   

“I hope that tomorrow is going to be a bit better, I'm going to improve.   

“I'm a bit better than yesterday and yesterday was better than the day before.”   

But the 17-time Grand Slam winner warned: “It's true that when you have this virus and stomach viruses, the body's a bit weaker.   

“There is a bit more risk of injuries. But of course, this is a very important tournament for me and I hope to be ready.   

“Hopefully the virus is not going to affect my performance or how I should play tomorrow.”

Nadal said that while he would have loved to have arrived in the capital with titles in his pocket, the lack of them is hardly a crisis; he lost in semi-finals in Monte Carlo and Barcelona, two events where he was defending  titles.

“I will try to do my best, look at the positive things and go step by step,” he said.

“Barcelona (where he lost to Dominic Thiem) was a positive improvement for me. I'm feeling better now than then – I'm on the right path.   

“I'm building up my game with more confidence than I had in Monte Carlo. I'm enjoying training and I enjoy playing each day.   

“This is a very important step for me.”

READ MORE: Rafa Nadal to wed Xisca, the woman he has been with for 14 years 

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TENNIS

IN PICS: Rafa Nadal weds childhood sweetheart in Mallorca

Rafael Nadal married his partner of 14 years, Xisca Perello, at a castle in Mallorca on Saturday.

IN PICS: Rafa Nadal weds childhood sweetheart in Mallorca
Photo: Fundacion Rafa Nadal

Nadal, the 19-time grand slam champion, tied the knot with 31-year-old Perello at La Fortaleza, with a reported 350 guests invited to a private ceremony.

Juan Carlos I, the king of Spain from 1975 to 2014, was believed to be among those in attendance while the Michelin-star chef, Quique Dacosta, was reportedly in charge of catering.

The newlyweds shared some official photos of the day through the Fundacion Rafa Nadal, the NGO the tennis player set up on Mallorca

Photo: Fundacion Rafa Nadal

 

Nadal, 33, met his wife through his younger sister Maribel, a childhood friend of Perello.

They started dating in 2005 when they were both teenagers after meeting several years before.


Photo: Fundacion Rafa Nadal

The couple announced their engagement in January and revealed that the tennis ace had proposed on a romantic trip to Rome last May but chose to  keep the news private.

 

Perello, has always shunned the media spotlight although she has been pictured courtside at some of Nadal’s biggest matches.


Nadal kisses Perello after winning against France's Gael Monfils in the final tennis match at the Monte-Carlo ATP Masters Series Tournament in Monaco on April 17, 2016. 

But she isn't always there. In a 2011 interview with The Daily Telegraph, Perello explained: “He needs his space when he is competing, and just the idea of me hanging around and waiting on his needs all day tires me out.

“It would asphyxiate me. And then he would have to be worrying about me… No. If I followed him everywhere, I think there's a risk we might stop getting along.”

She works in insurance and is a business graduate but also serves as project director for the Rafa Nadal Foundation, the charity which Nadal launched almost ten years ago.

In an interview with sports newspaper Marca last year, the world number 2 hinted that he wouldn't be ready to start a family until he had retired from tennis. 

'I keep my commitment with tennis and my happiness', Nadal told Marca. 'I enjoy both in tennis and outside it. I have a girlfriend too and I am not alone to take decisions.

“Having family? I don't know, things are not easy to be predict. At this age, I thought that I would have already been a former player and that I would have started a family.”

READ ALSO: Rafa Nadal donates €1million to help victims of Mallorca floods 

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