Teen Tennis Pro Had Perfect Reaction to Learning He’ll Face Rafael Nadal

Jan 18, 2023; Melbourne, VICTORIA, Australia; Rafael Nadal during his second round match at the Australian Open.
Jan 18, 2023; Melbourne, VICTORIA, Australia; Rafael Nadal during his second round match at the Australian Open. / Mike Frey-USA TODAY Sports

Rafael Nadal is scheduled to play against 16-year-old American Darwin Blanch in the first round of the Madrid Open on Tuesday, and Blanch had the most teenager response to this news.

Blanch, who's ranked No. 1,028 in the world, reacted to facing the 22-time Grand Slam winner by posting a Snapchat photo to his friends with the caption "Guys I play nadal wtf." He looked beyond shocked with his hand covering his mouth in the picture.

It's important to note that Blanch and Nadal are 21 years apart in age. Nadal had already won three Grand Slam titles by the time Blanch was born in 2007.

Tuesday's match will mark Blanch's second ATP level match in his young career. He lost in the first round at the Miami Open in March.

Nadal will be playing in just his third tournament of the season after he has been dealing with hip and abdominal injuries since the beginning of 2023. This tennis season could "probably" be his last, the 37-year-old previously hinted at, since he's been dealing with various injuries.

It will be a tough match for Blanch for many reasons, with one being that Nadal is known as the "King of Clay." He's won a record 14 French Open titles, with the Madrid Open being one of the bigger tournaments leading up to the major tournament.


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Madison Williams

MADISON WILLIAMS

Madison Williams is a Staff Writer on the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated, where she has covered the entire sports landscape since 2022. She specializes in tennis, but covers a wide range of sports from a national perspective. Before joining Sports Illustrated, Madison worked with The Sporting News. She hails from Augustana College and completed a Master’s in Sports Media at Northwestern University. Madison is a dog mom and an avid reader.