On Saturday, World No. 2 Rafael Nadal lost to Argentina's Diego Schwartzman in the quarterfinals of the Internazionali Bnl d'Italia. What made Nadal's loss even more surprising was that it came at a tournament where the Spaniard had triumphed a record nine times earlier.
While Rafael Nadal was visibly off the mark during the match, it should be noted that he was coming off a seven-month layoff from the sport. Having sat out at the US Open, the Rome Masters was the first competitive event that the World No. 2 had entered after the start of the COVID pandemic.
Rafael Nadal did not make excuses for his loss though, insisting in a post-match interview that he knew what changes he had to make in his game ahead of the 2020 French Open.
The Spaniard claimed that the reason he couldn't play a good match was perhaps the fact that he had spent so much time away from tennis before arriving in Rome.
"After such a long time without competing, I played good two matches, and now today, I played a bad one against a good opponent," Nadal said.
It has been an unpredictable year: Rafael Nadal
Asked about how he was going to regroup from the loss and rebound in time for Roland Garros, which begins on 27 September, Rafael Nadal remarked that this year was not a normal year. The Spaniard also hinted that he was not putting too much stock into his defeat to Schwartzman.
"It is a completely special and unpredictable year. I don’t know. I will probably go back home and then see what’s going on. I did my job here," Nadal said.
While his fans might be worried about the Spaniard's upcoming campaign in Paris, where he will be bidding for a record-extending 13th title, Rafael Nadal is hopeful of fixing the few issues in his game before the French Open kicks off.
"I fought until the end. But losing that many serves, you can’t expect to win a match, no? It's something that I have to fix. I know how to do it. I'm gonna keep working and keep practicing with the right attitude and try to give myself a chance to be ready," Nadal said.
In the interview, Rafael Nadal also revealed that one of the problems during his loss were the 'super heavy' conditions. The Spaniard has struggle with humidity in recent times, with plenty of grip problems in the midst of his matches.
However, Nadal was quick to shake off any excuses for his straight sets defeat to Diego Schwartzman, who was playing at a spectacularly high level.
"We can find excuses, but I didn’t play enough well. I have to think internally about how I can fix it. Now is not the moment to find excuses," Nadal said.Published 21 Sep 2020, 15:50 IST