Rafael Nadal: “It’s True I Am Not Playing That Well” [Video]
by Tom Gainey | May 31st, 2011, 9:57 am

Rafael Nadal has won 11 consecutive matches at the French Open but the doubters,the critics and now even Nadal agrees that something is wrong with the best player on clay.

Nadal has won all straight set matches since having to five sets in his first round match against John Isner. Yesterday, Nadal defeated Croatian veteran Ivan Ljubicic 75, 63, 63 but the perfomance wasn’t great.

“I think I still playing a little bit with too anxious for moments, so it happened today,” Nadal said. “Because the conditions were very difficult, I think. The court was a lot of windy.

“It’s true I am not playing that well. But I am in quarterfinals another time, and I going to fight to play a better match next time.”

“I am not playing enough well to win this tournament at the day of today. That’s the true. The thing is you have to be realist, and today I’m not playing enough well to win this tournament. We will see after tomorrow if I am ready to play at this level. I going to try. But I won four times already here, five times already here. I don’t have an obligation to win six. I going to try for sure, but…”

Nadal also talked about his overall title runs and compared them.

“In 2006 I think I didn’t play well during all the tournament,” Nadal said. “In 2007, normal, 2008, I played fantastic, but I played fantastic especially quarterfinals, semifinals, and final. 2009 I think I played terrible all the tournament; 2010, so so. Much better semifinals and finals than previous matches. Very so so, in my opinion.”

On Wednesday, Nadal will play the only man to beat him at the French Open, the powerful Robin Soderling.

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6 Comments for Rafael Nadal: “It’s True I Am Not Playing That Well” [Video]

jane Says:

Rafa’s “normal” category is very interesting: I would love to know what he means by it. His typical level, perhaps? Without too much concern, extra work/effort, or changes? The other two – terrible and fantastic – are pretty straightforward. Notice that he does say he played fantastic so he is not being overly modest about 2008, but how could he be? He plowed through the draw. I do think he is fairly objective in his view of himself. Although he said a lot of negative things in his interview, he did note the positives too: e.g., being in the QFs, improving in some areas since the earlier rounds, and so forth.

As to whether he can beat Soderling, then Murray (assuming) and then either Nole or Fed, it remains to be seen. But it would not surprise me if he did.

All this talk, both from himself and other journalists, about his form makes me wonder, however.

skeezerweezer Says:

Ugh…was gonna type something but my fingers won’t let me….:(

farley Says:

Rafa has been exhausted. Nothing else can be expected from him. He can not be champions in this tournament. I think he would be easily defeated by Soderling, who hated enemy. Rafa is now not the same as last year. The fans must give Rafa loses crown Roland Garros champion.

Anna Says:

Rafa complained a while back about not having any time to practice anything new, other than during matches. His play has been more sporadic than ever this FO and so I wonder if he isn’t actually practicing a bit of something while playing. Otherwise I suppose he could just be tired and caddywampus because of his recent losses as the press has suggested. I did like his line yesterday about not being “obligated” to win a 6th FO. That had to be for the press and overzealous fans who seem to be stroking out at the thought of a loss. I want to see him win but a loss wouldn’t be the end of the world. He’s already been there done that.

jane Says:

Anna, “caddywampus” – good one! :)

Anna Says:

Jane – Hah! I have no idea where I came up with that word, but you get the gist.

I think it’s hilarious the way Rafa says he played “terrible – to normal” in 3 of his 5 FO wins. It really does give his fans some hope.

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