INTERNAZIONALI BNL D'ITALIA
Nadal Calm & Confident On Eve Of Rome Campaign
by ATP Staff|
It is with renewed confidence and peace of mind that seven-time champion Rafael Nadal enters the Foro Italico in 2014. The 27-year-old Spaniard is attempting to win his eighth title at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia and comes in on the back of victory at the Mutua Madrid Open last week.
Nadal had admitted to suffering doubts after back-to-back quarter-final exits at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters (l. to Ferrer) and the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell (l. to Almagro) – fair results for most players, but a surprise for Nadal, who had not lost so early at either event since 2003.
"I think in Madrid I played better than I had the two previous weeks,” said Nadal on Tuesday. “It's true that wasn't the case in the final, but the quarter-finals (against Tomas Berdych) and semi-finals (against Roberto Bautista Agut) were two good matches against two good, in-form players. It was good for my confidence.”
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Nadal defeated Kei Nishikori in the final at the Caja Magica, winning as the Japanese player was forced to retire in the third set suffering from a back injury. “In the end, even if it wasn't the perfect way to win the final, it was a victory,” said Nadal. “When you win a tournament, when you win a Masters 1000, it's always a good achievement and a positive thing. It gives you confidence and makes you more calm.”
This week, Nadal is looking to win his 28th ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown. On nine visits to the Foro Italico, he has reached the final eight times, lifting the trophy in 2005-’07, ’09-’10 and ’12-’13 and finishing runner-up to Novak Djokovic in 2011.
"I've always had a great feeling here in Rome, since the first time I came in 2005,” said Nadal. “I remember that final (against Guillermo Coria) was one of the best memories I've had on tour. I've had good success here, winning seven times, losing one final. I've played a lot of matches here, important ones for me career.
"I practised yesterday a little bit later [in the day]. It's true that the feeling is different than in Madrid,” continued Nadal. “Today it has been raining, so I haven't been able to practise yet and it makes the conditions a little bit tougher. But I've always liked it here. I always play well at this tournament. I'm happy to be back in Rome.”
World No. 1 Nadal is due to face Gilles Simon in his opening second-round match on Wednesday.