US OPEN 2013
Rafa Rates Perfect Hard-Court Season
New York, U.S.A.
by ATP Staff|
It’s been a good hard-court season for Rafael Nadal. Perfect, in fact.
The Spaniard improved to a 16-0 mark on the surface with a straight-sets win over Ryan Harrison in the first round of the US Open. In spite of his success, Nadal stated Monday that he couldn’t measure whether he was playing the best hard-court tennis of his career.
“I had success in the past when I was playing well, too, on hard,” said Nadal. “Is difficult to analyse now. I am playing well. [Did I play] better in Cincinnati and Montreal than what I played in the Olympics in 2008? I don’t think so. I don’t know. Or I played better than when I won here in 2010? I don’t know.”
Nadal claimed hard-court titles in back-to-back weeks for the first time, when he won the Rogers Cup and Western & Southern Open ahead of the US Open. En route to those titles, he posted victories over current World No. 1 Novak Djokovic in Montreal and five-time champion Roger Federer in Cincinnati.
“To win two Masters 1000 in a row against the opponents I had a chance to beat, sure I was playing a very high level,” he said. “But is very difficult to compare year by year. I just played very well. Happy the way I was playing. I don’t know if it was the best or not, but was very good because I was able to win.”
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The Spaniard missed last year’s US Open, after being sidelined with a knee injury for the second half of the season, but has compiled a 54-3 match record and nine titles since making his return to the tour in February.
“We go day to day,” Nadal said of his confidence level. “[Winning the previous] two tournaments is great for my career because both tournaments are very important ones, but that doesn’t mean I will play great here. That means that I am doing the right things. This is a different tournament. I hope to be ready for that.”
Nadal, the year-end No. 1 in 2008 and ’10, has a chance to overtake Djokovic at the top of the Emirates ATP Rankings with a strong showing in New York.
“If you are able to keep improving all the time, you will have the chance to be in the top,” he said. “For me today, I am going on court every day with the ball to keep improving.”