Rafael Nadal Loses to Alex de Minaur in Second Round of Barcelona Open

Nadal's return to the clay was short-lived.
Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal / Mike Frey-USA TODAY Sports

This week was a big one for the tennis world as fans everywhere looked forward to the return of Rafael Nadal to his most comfortable home. Nadal was cleared to participate in the Barcelona Open this week, meaning he would make his return to the clay courts for the first time in a long time. Everyone was excited and the tennis great delivered in the first round, defeating Flavio Cobolli, 6-2, 6-3.

On Wednesday, Nadal suited up for the second round of the Open but failed to establish his usual dominance on the red court. He lost to Alex de Minuar, 7-5, 6-1, with his opponent becoming the first Australian player to take down Nadal on a clay court.

Afterwards Nadal was given a thunderous ovation by the Barcelona Open crowd. It was a fitting scene for the 12-time Open champion.

It was undeniably great to see Nadal back in Barcelona. The injury issues that have plagued him in recent years raised serious questions about the end of his career. Losing in the second round is a disappointment for those hoping he'd make another improbable run on his most comfortable surface, but it shouldn't really come as a surprise.

Even with the loss, a great moment for Nadal and the millions of fans who have spent decades watching his every volley.

Liam McKeone


Liam McKeone is a Senior Writer for the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. In addition to his role as a writer, he collaborates with other teams across Minute Media to help define his team’s content strategy. He has been in the industry as a content creator since 2017, and prior to joining SI in 2024, Liam worked for NBC Sports Boston and The Big Lead. In addition to his work as a writer, he has hosted the Press Pass Podcast covering sports media and The Big Stream covering pop culture. A graduate of Fordham University, Liam is always up for a good debate and enjoys loudly arguing about sports, rap music, books, and video games. Liam has been a member of the National Sports Media Association (NSMA) since 2020.