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Andrey Rublev jokes about getting ‘killed’ by Rafael Nadal as he answers ‘tough question’ about tennis great’

Stepping on the same court as Rafael Nadal is a rare occurrence these days, but Andrey Rublev recently got the honour of slugging it out with the tennis great during a practise match.

Nadal is set to make his comeback at the Barcelona Open on Tuesday as he will play his first competitive match since the Brisbane International in January.

The Spaniard will take on Fabio Cobolli in the ATP 500 first round in what will be his first match on clay since he won his 14th title at Roland Garros in June 2022.

Nadal has been struggling with a muscle injury and during his recovery period he spent most of his training days at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca, but on Saturday he stepped up his preparation and took on world No 8 Rublev in Barcelona.

Those in attendance reported that Nadal “hammered” the Russian 6-1.

Rublev was asked if he approached Nadal about a practice match or if the Spaniard came to him and he replied: “Not really. I mean he killed me or I mean I kill myself I don’t know. But the practise is always nice to practise with Rafa.

“We had to start to play. I think for sure (it was me). I don’t think Rafa asks someone to practice. I think most of the players are asking Rafa to practise.

“So I’m pretty sure my coach talks to his team and this is how we arranged the practise.”

READ MORE: Rafael Nadal makes honest retirement confession ahead of Barcelona Open return

Former world No 1 Nadal has stated that the 2024 season is likely to be his final campaign as a professional and many a player knows that they could be facing the tennis great for the last time over the next few months.

Asked how he felt about the fact that it may be one of the last times he gets to practice with Nadal, Rublev said: “It’s a tough question because it’s tough to realise or tough to think that this can be one of our last practises or one of his last tournaments because he proved many times that he came back from impossible situations that now it’s tough to think that way

“When he was coming back from the situation that everyone was saying, ‘Now is for sure,’ ‘Now is for sure,’ ‘Now is for sure,’ and he always was proving (everybody wrong) and he was coming back.

“Now they’re not saying yet for sure, that’s for sure. So it’s tough to think that way for the moment. Let’s see when the moment comes.”

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