Rafael Nadal takes inspiration from Real Madrid’s heroics in his 3 hours and 10 minutes grueling battle against David Goffin on Thursday.
Nadal, playing his first tournament in six weeks after suffering a stress fracture of a rib at Indian Wells in March, saved four match points against Goffin to survive in Madrid.
The former world No. 1 blew two match points in the second set before saving four against experienced Belgian rival in the final set tiebreak, finally closing out a 6-3 5-7 7-6(9) victory to advance to the quarter-finals of Madrid Open.
“Yesterday was an unforgettable night,” he said.
“The spirit that Real Madrid team have is just incredible and for me today, an inspiration for the way I have been fighting all my tennis career.”
He also praised the efforts from Goffin, who pushed him hard all the way after going a set down.
“Honestly, [it was] very tough. David played at a very high level and at the same time I am not completely happy because I had to finish the match in straight sets without a doubt,” he said.
He added: “Three hours, 10 [minutes] on the court helps increase my physical performance.
“A very important victory, saving match points, that’s confidence, that gave me the chance to keep going. I need matches and days like today to be fitter sooner.”
The 35-year-old will play his fellow Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz in the quarter-final, after progressing with a 6-4 6-7 (4) 6-3 victory over Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie.