Rafael Nadal feels he produced his ‘highest level’ early on against David Goffin

French Open
Rafael Nadal

Defending champion Rafael Nadal believes he reached “almost the top level” during the first two sets against David Goffin before his standards dropped slightly in the third.

The 11-time champion was at his very best early on before the Belgian hit back to claim a rare set, but Nadal eventually won 6-1, 6-3, 4-6 6-3.

The 17-time Grand Slam winner, who also dropped his serve against Yannick Maden in the second round, analysed his performance after the match.

“[In the] first set and a half it was really fantastic, incredible. It’s difficult to play so well. I did everything perfectly,” said Nadal.

“I couldn’t lose my concentration today. With respect to the [Maden match], I was 100 per cent focused. I was able to keep the intensity.

“You need to be realistic. The level that I kept during the first 45 minutes [against Goffin], you can’t really maintain that easily. It’s very difficult, because it was almost the top level, the highest level I could play.

“Afterwards, when you play at that tennis level, each time you decrease your level, it seems that things crumble in some way. It’s strange. But then today I played against an excellent player.”

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