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Nadal Hoping To Banish Doubts In Madrid

Madrid, Spain

Nadal© Getty ImagesRafael Nadal is looking to retain his title at the Mutua Madrid Open.

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal is looking to banish doubts this week as the defending champion at the Mutua Madrid Open

The Spaniard comes into the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay-court tournament nursing the wounds inflicted by a quarter-final defeat at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters (l. to Ferrer) and an exit at the same stage a week later at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell (l. to Almagro). 

For most players, though, successive clay-court quarter-finals would not be cause for concern. It is that philosophy that the 27-year-old Nadal is adopting, despite suffering his first loss in Barcelona since 2003.

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“When you lose, you have a hard moment, you have more doubts,” admitted Nadal on Sunday at the Caja Magica. “But that's what happened. I've already said it several times. I didn't try to win Monte Carlo 12 times or Barcelona 12 times. Maybe that isn’t normal. This is the reality of the situation. Maybe it's normal to lose three times in the quarter-finals. Maybe what's not normal is what happened during the past nine years.”

Regardless, Nadal is looking to re-assert himself in Madrid, where he was victorious last year, beating Stanislas Wawrinka in the final. After intense practice in recent days, the left-hander feels he is not far from producing his best tennis and winning the tight matches. And he certainly won’t be lacking in intensity, nor stomach for the fight.

“I’m here to fight and to try to play even better," said Nadal. "I don't think I have to change many things. I think I can change very small things, and the change can be quite drastic and quite big. That's what I'm working on right now. 

“I feel really good playing here,” continued Nadal, who is set to open his campaign against either Jurgen Melzer or Juan Monaco. “It's a very special tournament for me, and the energy this tournament gives me is something a little bit different to others.

“I've been training, trying to do things properly, as I've been doing always. I hope that it just works out. I have been working since I lost in Barcelona. I tried to train well to come here. If things don't come out well, we will go to Rome; if things don't work out there, we will go to Paris. 

“That's it. You have to continue and continue and continue, and think that things are going to work out for you. That's what I'm going to try to do every day. When you come from tough moments like this, you come back with a little more intensity to try to be back as soon as possible. That's what I'm trying to do right now.”

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