MADRID – Record five-time Madrid Open winner Rafael Nadal pulled out of a media conference on Monday on the eve of his opening match at the tournament due to a stomach bug.
He is scheduled to fulfil his delayed media obligation on Tuesday, according to tournament officials, allaying concerns over his fitness.
Eleven-time Roland Garros champion Nadal had also been suffering from the bug on Sunday, a week on from losing in the semi-final of the Barcelona Open.
The 17-time Grand Slam winner is racing to make up for lost time after failing to win a clay title so far this spring.
The second seed is due to open play in the second round against Canadian teenager Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Meanwhile, Sloane Stephens beat former world number one Victoria Azarenka 6-4 2-6 6-2 to reach the third round of the Madrid Open on Monday.
Stephens beat the two-time Australian Open winner for the fourth consecutive time in just over two hours to equal her best showing at the event.
Belarusian Azarenka, who double-faulted nine times, drove a forehand into the net as she was broken in the final game to lose to the American eighth seed.
Former US Open winner Stephens also reached the third round here in 2014 and 2018.
Dutch seventh seed Kiki Bertens advanced past former Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-4 6-3.
Last year’s losing finalist Bertens hammered 11 aces as she went through in 80 minutes, breaking Ostapenko four times.AFP