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Nadal: "I Did Much More Than What I Dreamed"

Indian Wells, U.S.A.

Nadal© Getty ImagesNadal hopes to post his fourth Top 10 win of the season on Sunday

After defeating World No. 6 Tomas Berdych to reach his first ATP World Tour Masters 1000 final in ten months, 11-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal admitted his results since his comeback were better than expected.

“It's very, very difficult to imagine something like this but here we are today, and [I’m] very happy about all [that] happened [in] the last month,” said the Spaniard, a two-time winner of the BNP Paribas Open. The 26 year-old said that since the future is unpredictable, many things seem impossible until they are achieved.

“[It] is not easy coming back after an important injury after seven months without playing a tournament,” said the left-hander after posting his third Top 10 victory since his return. “It is difficult to come back and to understand how to win the points another time, how to manage the important situations,” he said, referring to both break points on his own serve, and those on his opponent’s serve.

The Mallorcan said that playing tournaments regularly brings confidence, allowing competing to come more naturally. “You have your routines and you know what to do in every moment and you have a [predetermined] strategy,” he mused. “You need to compete to feel quick, to recover the right vision of the points and the nice reaction in every moment,” Nadal said, adding that the experience felt new. 

The World No. 5 believes Sunday’s final against Juan Martin del Potro will be difficult, but said he’d do his best to win in conditions that make him feel at home.

“I don't have [anything] to lose after seven months.  I did much more than what I dreamed. I’m gonna go on court and enjoy the match and try my best in every moment, as I do usually trying to win, but [calmly],” he said. “I feel very comfortable in this tournament, I feel very happy when I am here. [It] is [a] more relaxing tournament than other ones, and probably that gives me a positive feeling,” Nadal said.

Separately, after hearing that Argentinean footballer Lionel Messi said Nadal was one of his most admired athletes, along with Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Juan Martin del Potro, the Spaniard revealed his favorite athletes.

The former World No. 1 paid tribute to Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. “This rivalry brings football to another level in my opinion.  Every season they are improving his numbers.  That's something amazing,” Nadal said.

“If we talk about golf, well, Sergio Garcia is doing well...he is playing fantastic after not an easy past [few] years for him,” he said, adding that Tiger Woods’ mentality during competition was also admirable.

“He really is focused on what he is doing, and he really believes that he’s gonna make the right shot in important moment.  That's something.  His determination in important moments is something difficult to have, and he has.  I admire that a lot.”   

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