Posted on April 21 2021
As the ATP Tour heads to Barcelona, a multitude of Spanish players will be looking to impose their watertight clay court games on the rest of the field. Here at All Things Tennis, we’re going to break down who these players are and what rackets they use.
It is often said that Spanish tennis players are clay court specialists, and while most of the top Spanish players enjoy success on all surfaces, there’s no doubt that they’re generally most comfortable on the clay. 10 out of the 64 players in Barcelona this week are Spanish, and they are all formidable clay court players. Since 1997, a Spanish man has lifted the Barcelona Open trophy 74% of the time. A statistic greatly helped by a certain Rafael Nadal but an impressive stat none the less. We all know that players from Spain are notoriously proficient on clay, but it seems they have a unique home advantage too.
Here’s our All Things Tennis guide on which Spanish players to watch out for this year in Barcelona.
After a disappointing performance against Rublev in Monte Carlo, Nadal will be looking to continue building his form as he prepares for Roland Garros. Watch out for Rafa’s serve this week, he had an awful serving day against Rublev last week and it contributed heavily to his three-set defeat. Nevertheless, with 11 Barcelona titles to his name, he’ll be a heavy favourite for the trophy this year.
If you need some intense power and spin injected into your tennis game, look no further than Rafa’s Babolat Pure Aero.
Roberto Bautista Agut
There are few players on the tour more consistent than Bautista Agut. Not only is he a consistent ball machine on the court, but he’s ‘Mr Consistent’ when it comes to results. He’s not dropped outside the top 30 since 2014 and has gained immense respect from his peers. Novak Djokovic described him as ‘one of the most underrated tennis players’ and many other pro’s share the same view. While he’s not a clay court ‘specialist’ as he has a higher win percentage on grass and hard courts, it takes an in-form player to knock him out of any tournament.
Pablo Carreno Busta
Last year’s US Open semi-finalist is another underrated player on the tour. He’s 13 in the world and while his success is not limited to clay, he won a title on the surface back in 2017 and reached the quarter finals at last year’s French Open. Pablo Carreno Busta is another extremely consistent player who rarely beats himself.
Like Stefanos Tsitsipas, Carreno Busta uses the Wilson Blade 98 (16x19) V7 Unstrung. While they may not have many obvious similarities in their games, they both rarely miss and hit consistently deep shots from the baseline.
Many of you may not have heard of Jaume Munar. He’s 23, ranked 86 in the world and hasn’t made it past the second round of any Grand Slam tournament. However, he’s been training under the watchful eye of Rafael and Tony Nadal since 2018. Munar hails from Majorca and lives just half an hour away from Nadal’s tennis academy, so it made sense for him to train there when he decided to move back home in 2018. He’ll be one to watch out for this week in Barcelona, you can’t go wrong with an endorsement from Rafa after all.
Munar uses the Yonex EZONE 98 Tennis Racket, a racket popular with many budding professionals.
We were going to mentions Carlos Alcaraz but unfortunately, he was knocked out yesterday by a red-hot Francis Tiafoe. Alcaraz is continuing to improve every week and this ATP match experience can only be doing him good. Remember his name we say!
If you have the time this week, we recommend catching some matches at the Barcelona Open. It’s got an impressive draw this year with Nadal, Tsitsipas and Rublev all competing. They also have a new camera angle on the main stadium which provides a more court level view of the action. Don’t be surprised if a Spaniard lifts the title this year…
Written by Aron Dochard