Following his 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 third round loss today to countryman Fernando Verdasc, former World No. 1 Rafael Nadal said his nerves played a role in the defeat.
“It’s not the question of tennis, [It’s] the question of being relaxed enough to play well on court,” Nadal told reporters. “Today my game in general improved since a month and a half [ago]. But at the same time, [I’m] still playing with too many nerves for a lot of moments, in important moments.
“I have been able to control my emotions during 90 per cent, 95 per cent of my matches of my career… But I’m going to fix it,” he said. “I don’t know if [it’ll be] in one week, in six months, or in one year, but I’m going to do it.
“I need the help of my team, but especially I need the help of myself. That’s what I am trying to do. Nobody’s going to change the situation for you.”
Nadal, a 4-time finalist, has still never won in Miami. After returning from a series of ailments last year, his only title this season through three months came at the Buenos Aires Open In February.
He’ll still enter the clay season as the favorite again to win the French Open.
“At this point in my career, I’ve won enough things to say I don’t need to win more, but I want to do it,” said Nadal. “I want to keep competing well. I want to keep having the feeling that I can be competing for every tournament I’m going to play, and I have the motivation to do it. Obviously clay is [a] surface that I’ve had some success, and I hope to be ready for it again.”
Nadal had won 13 straight against Verdasco, but has since lost his last two to his fellow lefty.
“I was anxious on court,” Nadal added. “I wanted to be there. I tried in every point, but I was not able to relax myself, calm myself.”
The loss was his earliest at the event in nine years since 2006. He’ll will also drop 780 rankings points (adding just 225) and could slide out of the Top 4 next Monday.
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