Rafael Nadal: “Once I Win Matches I Will Have My Confidence Back”
by Tom Gainey | May 3rd, 2015, 12:03 pm

Rafael Nadal continues to say the right things, but will the results finally follow? Nadal met the press today in Madrid where the Spanish icon is the 2-time defending champion having won the event four times.

But after a poor start to the 2015 European clay season, the expectations are no longer what they once were for the King of Clay.

“Once I win matches I will have my confidence back,” Nadal said. “I am training as much as I can with joy. I really want to do well. I want to play well. I want to train well. I want to give my best to try to have good rhythm in my game.

“I’m feeling well and hitting strong and I just want to enjoy this work. That’s what I’m looking forward to.”

Nadal begins his 13th appearance in Madrid against either Steve Johnson or a qualifier on Tuesday or Wednesday. Last year he won the title after Kei Nishikori retired in the final.

With 1,000 ranking points to defend – Nadal could drop out of the Top 8 with an early loss! – the pressure is really on.

“You can expect to have more pressure when you defend your points,” said Nadal. “I should have defended those points many weeks ago. That’s not the issue right now. I should have defended them before rather than now.

“I’m not worried. It’s part of the sport. Sometimes perhaps with longer injuries I managed to stay up in the [Emirates ATP Rankings] because I came back and I managed to win a lot of times. This time I haven’t been able to do that.”

Ranked No. 4, Nadal is 19-7 on the year and since his French victory he has just one Top 10 win and one ATP title (Buenos Aires). He turns 29 in a month.

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28 Comments for Rafael Nadal: “Once I Win Matches I Will Have My Confidence Back”

Giles Says:

Stay positive Champion! Vamos!

Colin Says:

He’s got a problem here. Winning matches will restore his confidence, sure, but he needs the confidence in advance to win the matches!

Giles Says:

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Lol

chris ford1 Says:

From tennisworldusa’s interview:

“When a player like Djokovic doesn’t play a tournament, there is obviously an open door. There is the chance to win an important event. That said, it doesn’t mean that each and every time Novak plays there are no chances for the others, I mean he can’t win every tournament he enters.”

Djoker is in Rafa’s head a little bit.
While I do want Nole to win the French Open, because he has earned that chance of victory against the greatest clay player ever by his improvement, driven by hard work and love of the game. Nevertheless, I want the rivalry to resume. They hate playing each other, Rafa more than Novak, but have given fans so many classic matches of two warriors that fight to the finish. I never want their rivalry to end. Neither to dominate, though I would like Nole to be the one that finishes with a slight edge H2H..
Of course it must, some day. But not for many years to come.
And maybe the highest quality rivalry is at present Djokovic-Federer, and to see that, Rafa has to fall or not be playing. And I like both rivalries!
So I guess I hope for Nole to make every final, and face Rafa or Fed at some point each tournament – until one retires.

Daniel Says:

This ankle injury may be troublesome, seems Nadal low on confidence is affecting how he trust his body and maybe why he is getting tired more often (together with getting old of course).

But helot a good draw in Madrid, unless Fogini decides t play again and could meet him QF if Wawrinka is not up to it (as lately).

If Fedal indeed happens Nadal would have 3 matches and Fed doesn’t look sharp still on clay. He won Istambul with a second tier field and his FH on the run was not working. His aggressiveness was great with some ocasional UE, but he can’t defend as he used to on clay anymore, hence he needs his attacking game on in every match he plays. He is serving was good overall this week which was a good indication and he seems fit and ready to play. Hope he goes deep in Madrid and we get another Fedal.

jane Says:

fed and rafa played a lot in 2013, when fed was having one of his worst years, but rafa was playing great, and they played only once last year, at the very beginning, when fed was just getting used to edberg. it would be interesting to see them meet a few times this year, and on different surfaces too, just to see if the outcome is still more or less the same or not. roger hasn’t beat rafa in 3 years.

Humble Rafa Says:

He turns 29 in a month.

Age is just a number. Don’t read too much into it. You can play well into the 30s as Humble likes to remind you.

skeezer Says:

“I hurt my ankle.,”….I hurt my pinky, my dinky, my boo boo pooh pooh. Please believe me, I always need excuses…you know…just in case.

PS; am sorry you are so tired as of late…too much Tennis? Lol.

Michael Says:

True, Rafa badly needs that spark to get his sapping confidence levels back and revert to being the vintage and fearsome player that he once was on the Court glittering with ferocity and breathing fire. It was the kind of awe, supremacy and success rate that he manage to achieve which unnerved his opponents and made Rafa to completely turn around a match even from losing positions. That is what sheer confidence can do to any player giving them an air of invincibility and a nice feeling which translates into smooth rhythm on the court. Now, with a string of defeats and haunting physical issues, Rafa is looking highly vulnerable even against lower ranked players and look totally out of sorts and focus. It is also shocking to see the way he catapults into submission with a passive defeat and this is in total contrast to the “never say, give up Rafa” which he is acknowledged for, giving frights to his opponents. One is not sure as to how Rafa is going to extricate himself from this abyss ? But his past track record gives enormous confidence that he would some how manage to overcome adversity and yet again emerge as a shining example of excellence.

elina Says:

I’m glad that some fans of Roger have such short memories as Roger himself has just recently stopped talking about his back “problems” from two years ago.

Many of his fans here two years ago thought he was done. Champions like Roger fortunately dismiss such pedestrian thinking. That’s what makes him one of the best of all time.


sienna Says:

yes elina Roger always sees possibility and silverlining.
that is because winning is inbedded in his dna.
Nadal talks a different talk but his walk is the same.

they are as personality different but the way they approach tennis and the mental part is similar.
as soon as they get on court its game on.
djokovic comes close but his approach is different but maybe he is just starting to become such a winner.

elina Says:

What about Cilic sienna?

Too soon?


Dc Says:

Its all in Nadals head .
If he believes that the old racket is better and plays with – he’s back. However the rest of the field knows theoretically how to beat Nadal , so it won’t be easy.

jalep Says:

Daniel. Such an interesting, detailed post, as usual. Thanks.

I managed to watch all of Federer’s Istanbul matches on BeIN sports …not on Tennis Channel which for years has had a monopoly on tennis in the US and now they have added in featuring squash…for the love of god, instead okf showing Istanbul.

skeezer Says:

“but he can’t defend as he used to on clay anymore,…”
I don’t expect Fed to have much of an impact on Clay anymore either. Your spot on about the defensive side of the game, and on Clay you need to do a lot of running and change of direction. As you get older, the assumption of ‘losing a step” is not the same as trying to recover from a change of direction, and this becomes more and more glaring as you get older.
He may do ok in Madrid as it plays pretty fast for Clay, but as the tour gets down to the lower altitude well….we’ll see.

Giles Says:

“However the rest of the field knows theoretically how to beat Nadal so it won’t be easy”. Hmmm. Now that’s all in your head!

Giles Says:

“my pinky, my dinky, my boo boo pooh pooh. Geez. Are these words English? What do they mean? Only skeezer knows. Don’t expect a sensible post from him. For a moment I thought a 5 year old was posting. LMAO

skeezer Says:

“Now that’s all in your head!”
Tell Rafa that.

“I thought a 5 year old was posting.”
No, that is your specialty.LMAO.

Giles Says:

Another accolade for Rafael Nadal. Keep em coming Champ!
So proud to be your fan.

sienna Says:

yeah cilic

of course 1 giant explosion doesnot make a
tennis all time great.

I do rate his US open win among the great wins in slam. only fedal have won some of their slams .like that. (of active players)

sienna Says:

lmfao doctoral degree….for Nadal.

jalep Says:

Nice pics of Rafa, Giles. That should give him a boost of motivation and confidence defending his title in Madrid…I should think.

M Says:

Dr. Rafa!

Matador Says:

He needs many matches in Madrid and Rome like last year even if he cant win any of these Master 1000, his confidence will restore and be careful what you wish, Rafa Nadal can be in a beast mode from qf to the championship and be the only male to win the same major 6 times in a row and a 10th RG trophy, which even the great Navratilova, the best female player of Wimbledon could not get.

jalep Says:

Lol, Matador…

“Be careful what you wish for…”

Oh, I am. Not that I don’t like Rafa and enjoy seeing pictures of him looking so happy with his honorary PhD.
Also like Andy Murray very much; Federer, too. But Fedal.has collectivery won so much – I can’t get excited about them in GS events unless the are losing! Same goes for Serena Williams.

I’m a Nole fan first and an Andy fan second. But there really isn’t a player I don’t like. I like watching some a lot more than others. Unfortunately some of the ones I don’t like watching are from my own country.

jalep Says:

Collectively not collectivery…**&&^^///#¥¥¥££€_%=× auto correct.

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