Rafael Nadal is hoping to equal the Open-era record for most clay court titles won on the ATP Tour at this week’s Barcelona Open.
The Spaniard claimed his 48th title on the surface at the Monte-Carlo Masters on Sunday when he beat Gael Monfils in the final and he will now be hoping to match Guillermo Vilas’ record of 49 successes on clay this week.
The 29-year-old is an eight-time winner at Real Club de Tenis Barcelona, although he has been surprisingly beaten in each of the last two years by Nicolas Almagro and Fabio Fognini respectively.
The former world one is heading into this year’s event with renewed confidence following his triumph in Monte-Carlo and he is looking forward to continuing his upward trajectory in Catalonia.
He told reporters: “I hope it helps my season with confidence for the next few tournaments. I’ve been able to play well for two events in a row – Indian Wells and here – winning against very tough opponents so that is very good for my confidence.”
Nadal is the number one seed in Barcelona and he will face either Marcel Granollers or Daniel Munoz de la Nava in his first match of the tournament, with the Spanish duo set to go head to head in round one on Tuesday.
World number 50 Granollers is the favourite to secure a meeting with Nadal at 1.30, while de la Nava is on offer at 3.40.