Rafael Nadal still isn’t winning titles, but at Indian Wells last week he did earn his first victory over a Top 10 player this year. And he played World No. 1 and eventual winner Novak Djokovic very tough for one set.
So by reaching the semifinals and getting some wins, Nadal says if he can keep building confidence, he could be challenging for big titles again in the very near future.
“I think I played well during the week,” Nadal sad. “I won very interesting matches, good ones, fighting. Today was closer than the last couple of times against the best player of world, so was a very positive week for me. That’s the way. I gonna try to follow this way to keep going with this level.
“If I am able to play weeks in a row at this level, then you start to think about the chances to compete for everything.”
Nadal hasn’t won a title since Hamburg last summer, and he hasn’t won a set from Djokovic since his 2014 French Open title, losing the last 13 sets (and 6 matches) to the Serb. But he says he’s finally ready to battle Novak again.
“The way that I was playing I think was a little bit more tactical,” Nadal said. “Was a little bit more the way that I need to play against Novak than what happened the last couple of times that we played so quick and hitting so hard the ball.”
Nadal heads to Miami where’s been to the finals three times but has never won.
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Ben Pronin Says:
I think surviving against Zverev in such classic Nadal fashion gave him some life and re-ignited that spark of fighting till the very end. He weathered and early storm against Nishikori then subdued him. And then he was able to carry that momentum in playing Djokovic tough for a set.
But, it also shows how low Nadal has fallen where playing Djokovic close for just a set is seen as some kind of accomplishment. I’m not sure how much it really changes things. Nadal definitely played better this week but he’s still plenty beatable. If Zverev doesn’t miss that volley then the narrative on the week is completely different.
March 21st, 2016 at 10:15 am