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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