Nadal on the up again, Ferrer quits career in Madrid

Nadal on the up again, Ferrer quits career in Madrid

Nadal on the up again, Ferrer quits career in Madrid

Rafael Nadal believes he is finding his rhythm again after beginning his bid for a sixth Madrid Open title on May 8 by beating Canadian teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime in straight sets.

The victory came hours before Spaniard David Ferrer played the final match of his career, losing 6-4, 6-1 to Alexander Zverev in his last tournament before retirement.

Nadal has endured a turbulent few weeks after slipping to surprise defeats in both Monte Carlo and Barcelona last month before then being hit by a stomach bug on May 5. But there was never much sign of an upset in the Spanish capital, where the world number two opened up with a 6-3, 6-3 victory.

“Right now every victory is important for me because it gives me the option to play again the next day,” Nadal said.

“Two weeks ago maybe playing again was not a chance to improve because I didn’t feel like that in training. Now I am feeling better in matches and I think everyone gives me the chance to get better.”

Ferrer bowed out after losing to Zverev, calling time on a distinguished career that included 27 ATP titles and a highest ranking of number three in the world.

Renowned for his never-say-die attitude, the 37-year-old reached the French Open final in 2014, as well as five more Grand Slam semifinals.

“I couldn’t have given more to this sport,” said Ferrer, who left his bandana on the ‘T’ of the service box.

“I don’t know what my legacy will be but I always fought until the last point. Maybe it will be that.”