Nadal Feeling The Pressure At The Top

Rafael Nadal may have just won his seventh consecutive Monte Carlo title but it wasn’t a pretty win. He didn’t play particularly good tennis and has twice been trumped on the American hard courts by Novak Djokovic but still Nadal has felt the need to try and play Barcelona to add to his point tally with the goal of being year end number one. “That’s where I have to play my best, where I have to defend a lot of points.”

It seems a strange response to the pressure when something is clearly not right in his game. He’s been complaining of being abnormally tired despite having four weeks off after the Australian Open. Nadal has titles to defend in Madrid, Rome, Roland Garros and Wimbledon and his knees don’t need the extra strain. If he’s so tired someone in his team needs to step up and tell him to go back to Mallorca for some rest.

“During the match I was more tired than usual today. But in general it was positive. That’s important because these kinds of matches, like yesterday, like today, improve your condition physically and mentally.

Every year I did a fantastic clay court season. I have to try to do it another time. With these four or five tournaments, if I am playing very well, I’m going to have the biggest chances to have enough points to try to be in the top position at the end of the year ranking. That’s the top of my system in general. So I have to try… I am healthy now, so why not?”

In regards to him level of play, which I have already commented was unusually flawed in many ways Nadal agreed he can improve.“I think I can improve a few things for next weeks.

I am sliding less than usual on clay. It is easier to defend well when you are sliding, especially to the forehand. But I have two more days to practice for Barcelona. Let’s see.

It’s negative because you spent a lot of time on court, you have to run a lot on court, it’s always tough for the body. But if you talk about [what it does] mentally and physically, that can help a lot for the rest of the clay season.”

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