Defending champion and top seed Rafael Nadal suffered his earliest loss at Indian Wells in 10 years last night when the top seed was upset by Alexandr Dolgoplov 63, 36, 76(5) in the third round.
Nadal, who had been battling a bad back since the Australian Open final, didn’t blame the injury, he blamed his Ukrainian opponent for an incredible performance.
“Forget about the back. I don’t want to talk about the back anymore because my back is fine. The bad feelings were with my forehand and backhand,” Nadal said.
“When you are on the limit this thing can happen. You can lose, I lost today. Congratulate him. He played I think better than me. That’s it, life continues.”
Nadal went on to explain the difference in the match and his struggles this week.
“I had enough breaks to win the match, but I didn’t play enough well from the baseline then to be solid with my serve,” he said. “Is not a problem with my serve. Was more problem with my baseline shots. I didn’t go for the points. I played with too many mistakes.
“When you are playing a player like Dolgopolov, the way to stop him and the way that I really bother him is when I am solid all the time, playing long, playing high. When I play a high ball and the ball comes short, I go for the point and try to hit a winner and I open the court all the time.
“So he’s in trouble, no, if I play defensive, if I play short, if I hit good ball. But when the ball comes back short I am not able to have the winner or to play a shot that gonna give me that advantage. So then then I become a really normal player. I am not anymore a great player. I am a great player when I am doing these kind of things. These kind of things I am not doing the last two days.
“So when I am not doing these kind of things, I am not that good player. I become a normal player. That’s it.”
Life will continue for Nadal who will now prepare for Miami, a tournament he has never won.
“It’s impossible to be in the final of a tournament every single week. I did it for the first three tournaments of the year that I played.
“I’m going to try to rest for a few days and be fresh mentally, and I hope to be ready for Miami,” said Nadal.
Nadal has won 16 hardcourt titles in his career but has yet to defend any of them.
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