If today Rome would have an emperor, few doubts remain as to who would occupy that scepter: Rafael Nadal. It is that the number two in the world conquered the title of the Masters 1000 disputed in the Italian capital nine times.
However, despite being almost unbeatable on slow pitches, Rafa will not have an easy box at all. Without going any further, his debut will be against his compatriot Pablo Carreño Busta, a recent US Open semifinalist.
Despite a clear differential in favor of the Mallorca-born with five wins and no losses, his inactivity and the great present of Carreño Busta may be an incentive that evens things out in this match.
If he wins, it will not be an easy draw for the 19-time Grand Slam champion. In projection, his rival in the round of 16 would be the Canadian Milos Raonic, in the quarterfinals Diego Schwartzman and in the semifinals he should be measured against the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, who already knows what it is to beat him in brick dust.
In this Masters 1000 in Rome, Nadal will try to get his tenth trophy, something he has already achieved in three other competitions: the ATP 500 in Barcelona, the Masters 1000 in Monte-Carlo and Roland Garros.