Rafael Nadal was "exhausted" after clay swing, cannot afford to play a Grand Slam if he is not at 100%: Carlos Moya

Carlos Moya with Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros
Carlos Moya with Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros

Rafael Nadal recently pulled out of Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics, saying he needed to protect his body in order to prolong his career. His coach, Carlos Moya, has now confirmed that the Spaniard was indeed "exhausted" after the claycourt swing and will take a "well-deserved rest."

Rafael Nadal played a total of 22 matches during the clay swing, which began in April and ended about a week ago. During this period, Nadal won two titles -- the Barcelona Open and Italian Open -- and also made it to the semifinals at Roland Garros.

Carlos Moya highlighted the mental and physical toll the clay swing had taken on Rafael Nadal, and stressed how the World No. 3 needed to preserve his body to prolong his career.

"The clay court tour was very tough, with a lot of physical and mental pressure," Moya said. "Rafa finished exhausted. He is going to take a well-deserved rest, this is a marathon, a long-distance race in which hard decisions have to be made and he has considered that the best thing is to stop to come back full of strength."

Moya pointed to Nadal's mental fatigue from a couple of years ago and said the Spaniard was dangerously close to hitting a similar low this time as well.

"Rafa two years ago reached a point of great mental fatigue that was very difficult to get out of and now he has indicated that he was close to that again," added Moya. "He cannot afford (to play in) a Grand Slam if he is not at 100%."

Rafael Nadal's withdrawal from Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics prompted speculation that the Mallorcan's crushing defeat to Novak Djokovic at Roland Garros was one of the reasons behind his decision.

Carlos Moya did not directly shoot down those rumors, but said Nadal's decision had more to do with the quick turnaround between Roland Garros and Wimbledon. The 44-year-old also declared that the COVID-19 quarantine requirements was one of the reasons behind Rafael Nadal's move to pull out.

"The defeat has not affected as much as the fact that there is a week less than usual to prepare for Wimbledon, as well as the context in which we are with the pandemic," he said.
"It is difficult on a mental level to face the confinements prior to a great match, to play with little public, etc. This affects Rafa, he is a person who has a great connection with people and it was hard to go to London with a quarantine in between."

Novak Djokovic has a determination rarely seen in the history of the sport: Rafael Nadal's coach Carlos Moya

Novak Djokovic after beating Rafael Nadal
Novak Djokovic after beating Rafael Nadal

Novak Djokovic ousted 13-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal in a spectacular semifinal in Paris. After losing the first set, Djokovic fought back to beat Nadal 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-2.

Carlos Moya believes Nadal was uncharacteristically error-prone and struggled on his serve and backhand, which Djokovic exploited.

"Rafa made too many unforced errors and was not at his level with the serve or with the backhand," Rafael Nadal's coach said. "Novak did better, he cornered him very well on his backhand side and Rafa could not easily escape from there. We are going to learn a lot from this match."

Moya also heaped praise on the top-ranked Serb, lauding his mentality.

"He has an impressive mentality, a determination rarely seen in the history of the sport," Moya added.

What is the foot injury that has troubled Rafael Nadal over the years? Check here

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Edited by Arvind Sriram
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