Alexander Zverev has revealed that one of the main reasons he is participating in the Barcelona Open was to get another shot at Rafael Nadal.
Zverev is one of the five players who have entered the event via a wild card. He was eliminated in the round of 16 from the Monte-Carlo Masters by Nadal.
While the 20-year-old tennis prospect lost 6-1, 6-1 on clay in Monaco, he took the Spaniard to the limit in their previous two matches on hard court surfaces, notably losing 4-6, 6-3, 6-7, 6-3, 6-2 in their round of 32 match in the 2017 Australian Open.
Zverev is yet to register a win over the 30-year-old, but is excited about facing Nadal on clay again with a quarter-final meeting highly likely between the two in Barcelona.
"The main reason I came here is because the draw is so strong; it's almost like another Masters 1000," he said, as quoted on TennisWorldUSA. "There's a certain Mr. Rafa Nadal in my section. Maybe some of you remember the match last week."
"That's in the back of my mind and to be very fair, that's a very big reason why I am here: to get another shot to be on court with him."
The German defeated Nicolás Almagro in the round of 32 on Tuesday (25 April) and with Nadal facing Rogério Dutra Silva on Wednesday, Zverev is hoping that he gets the opportunity to play against the 14-time Grand Slam winner.
"That match [in Monte-Carlo] will be in the back of my mind for sure this week," he added. "I hope I can get there and I hope he can get there as well. He's the greatest player of all time on clay... everybody knows it."
"He's the only active player with a court named after him. And there's a reason for all that. I want to play him, especially on the clay court. I've played him on hard court a few times and both of those were tight matches. Playing him on clay is always special."