Rafael Nadal: ‘Now is the moment to work and to be confident’

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal is eager to put his Madrid Open quarterfinal defeat behind him and continue his path to Paris.

Nadal has reminded the tennis world that his intention was to be at his best for Roland Garros.

The Spaniard insisted that he was happy with his week’s work and has a clear roadmap for the next few weeks.

Nadal said that he knows what he needs to do to improve in a bid to win himself a record-extending 14th Roland Garros crown

“I was out there with the correct attitude and analysing every single morning what I had to do to generate options for myself and to improve,” Nadal said after his loss to Carlos Alcaraz on Friday evening.

“It’s clear to me what I need to improve. Now is the moment to work and to be confident that things will evolve in the right way.”

Nadal has taken a pragmatic approach to recovery from injury, saying that he prioritises his ‘physical evolution’.

“Some days the injuries don’t allow you to do the right things correctly to improve your game,” he said. “You have to prioritise your physical evolution.”

Nadal faces stiff competition for the Roland Garros title, with World No 1 Novak Djokovic getting back to his best, while there are significant threats from the likes of Alcaraz, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Alexander Zverev.

The Spaniard is hopeful that he can get back into his best shape and keep alive his hopes of a season Grand Slam in Paris but hasn’t placed any expectations on his clay swing.

“Just looking forward with optimism,” Nadal said. “We will see what happens.”

Nadal is seeded third for next week’s Rome Masters, sharing a quarter of the draw with 13th seed Denis Shapovalov, Great Britain’s Dan Evans, the underrated Nikoloz Basilashvili, home hope Lorenzo Sonego and big-serving John Isner.

Isner is a potential second round opponent for Nadal, but will have to get past a qualifier to book a date with the World No 4.

Nadal is once again in the same half of the draw as Djokovic, meaning they would meet in the semi-finals if both men make it that far.