Rafael Nadal began 2015 on an ominous losing to German qualifier Michael Berrer 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 earlier today in the first round at Doha.
The defending champion, who was playing his first official match since an appendectomy in November, had never lost before the quarters in Doha where this year World No. 1 Novak Djokovic also happens to be.
“He played well,” said Nadal of the lefty. “I was playing with more nerves than usual. I knew that winning [a] couple of matches here will help me, so that makes me play a little bit more under more tension.”
Berrer, 34 and ranked No. 127, joins Nick Kyrgios and Borna Coric as other players ranked outside the Top 100 to have beaten Nadal in the last six months.
“These things happen after [a] long time without being on the road, being on rhythm, being in competition,” said Nadal. “So I think I played a great first set [with] a lot of winners with my forehand [and] no mistakes.”
Nadal, who admitted he’s unsure if he’ll take a wildcard next week, understands it’s not easy coming back after injury.
“There is risk,” he said. “You can see all the comebacks from a lot of players when they were injured from long time. The comebacks are tough; I’m not an exception.
“At the end, that’s the sport. I’m going to work hard to try to make it less tough as possible, but my motivation and my hunger to keep doing the things well [are] still the same. I am sure that I’m going to come back to my best. I hope to be soon.”
In other early round matches, Djokovic prevailed over compatriot Dusan Lajovic and Tomas Berdych and David Ferrer also advanced.
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