One week after winning, in Monte Carlo, his first Masters 1000 since Madrid 2014 at his 100th career final, Rafael Nadal won his ninth Barcelona crown after defeating Kei Nishikori 6-4, 7-5 in the final.

With this Barcelona triumph, the Spaniard ties Guillermo Vilas for the most titles won on clay, with 49.

Vilas congratulates Nadal

“Records are meant to be broken”, goes the saying, and Guillermo Vilas embodies this saying very well. Gracious, like the Gentleman (with a capital G!) that he is, the Argentine took time to congratulate the Spaniard via Twitter:

“Many congratulations for the achievement, Rafa. Hug.”

After many months of struggles, the King of Clay seems to finally be back to his “old” self, at least on his favoured surface, something that bodes well for the weeks to come. The last two weeks will give Nadal a much needed confidence boost ahead of the French Open, where he is looking for a tenth crown.

Welcome back, Rafa!

(Photo: Getty Images)