Rafael Nadal eyes some rhythm and continuity after ‘too many ups and downs’

Rafael Nadal pensive

It didn’t go according to plan for Rafael Nadal at the Monte-Carlo Masters, but he is hoping to make up for it at the Barcelona Open this week.

The world No 2 headed to the Principality last week targeting a 12th title, but he suffered a shock semi-final defeat at the hands of Fabio Fognini, who went on to win his first ATP Masters 1000 title.

Asked about his performance in Monte-Carlo, Nadal once again re-iterated that it was one of his worst displays on clay, but he also feels he “took a step forward”.

“My personal opinion is that I played one of the worst matches on clay. It’s a reality. There is no need to hide it. I do not see the benefit of wanting to deny it,” he said.

“What has happened has happened. And it is true that I played a bad semi-final, but before I had played two good matches and an irregular third one. What may happen in the future is not known.

“In Monte-Carlo I took a step forward with how I was a week before.

“I lost a good opportunity to start the season in a fantastic way. But now I’m going to have another one.”

Looking ahead to the Barcelona Open where he will be gunning for a 12th title, Nadal is looking to finally hit his straps after “too many stops and ups and downs” in the past 18 months.

This week’s tournament will be his fifth of the 2019 season and he will face Leonardo Mayer in the first round.

“The hope is the same as always. This is a very special tournament that is part of the history of tennis and of my own. I have another morning to practice and we will see how we are doing. On a physical level, I’m more or less well,” he said.

“It is true that I have not won any titles, but I reached the final in Australia, semi-final in Indian Wells and now semi-final again in Monte-Carlo. The year is not bad and I’m third in the Race [ATP Finals Race to London], but with more problems than I would have liked. ”

He added: “The job is to find myself. During the last 18 months I have had too many stops and ups and downs non-tennis related. And when that happens it’s hard to pick up rhythm and continuity. But it is true that it has happened so many times and that after things go well and that everything that happened seems to be forgotten. I hope to be ready to play well and if it is not here it will be in Madrid, in Rome or at Roland Garros.”

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