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Nadal 'Encouraged' By Clay Performance

Rome, Italy

Nadal© Getty ImagesRafael Nadal has lost four consecutive battles against Novak Djokovic, including Sunday's Rome final.

Rafael Nadal spoke positively about his chances of winning a ninth Roland Garros title despite a fourth consecutive defeat to Novak Djokovic in Sunday’s Internazionali BNL d'Italia final.

“Two weeks ago, my chances to play well in Roland Garros were not very high,” said Nadal. “But I will arrive now more encouraged.”

The 27 year old’s European clay season began meekly, with the Spaniard making quarter-final exits in Monte-Carlo (l. to Ferrer) and Barcelona (l. to Almagro).

Nadal followed that up with a title win at the Mutua Madrid Open - his fourth in the Spanish capital - and Sunday’s runner-up finish at the Foro Italico.

“I’m very proud about this week,” Nadal said. “I earned 600 [Emirates ATP Rankings] points. I was able to play in another final here. I was able to compete well against Novak, probably one of the best players of the moment. I was able to play well against tough opponents like Andy Murray and Grigor Dimitrov.

“My feelings [about Roland Garros] are better now than one week ago. Each week of the clay season got better for me. I hope to be ready.”

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