Philosophical Rafael Nadal vows to come back stronger as he still has time on his side

Rafael Nadal disappointed

Rafael Nadal’s wait for a title in 2019 continues, but the Spaniard insists if he manages to stay fit and “play properly” he will win trophies again.

The 17-time Grand Slam winner was sent packing from the Madrid Open by Stefanos Tsitsipas on Saturday with the Greek winning 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 in two hours and 34 minutes.

It means Nadal is yet to win a title on any surface this year with his best showing a runners-up spot at the Australian Open, but it is his form on clay this year that will be of most concern as he also failed to reach the finals in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona.

The 32-year-old, though, is not too downbeat as he believes he will taste success again.

“I think that it’s more normal what is happening right now, than what happened in the past 14 years,” he said. “I think I have tennis ahead of me. I have time ahead of me. I’ll be able to try to win this kind of tournament that I was not able to win this year. And what I have to do is to be fit and to play properly and a high tennis level.

“If I manage to do that next year, I think I will still have a very good opportunity to fight for all of these titles and for the rest of the year, I still have two [clay-court] tournaments. And we will see what happens there.”

He added: “Tennis is about winning or losing. I have been able to win a lot for a lot of years on this surface. And this year, it seems that’s not the way and I am really close to it, but not managing to win.

“You just have to accept it and I have to accept it naturally. But to accept things does not mean to try to change things.

“But during all my life, I think I have taken the victories very naturally and with a lot of normality. With the losses I’ll do the same. It will be normal and I’m going to accept it naturally.”

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