Nadal Unfazed By Thiem Loss
Spaniard takes the positives heading into Roland Garros
All good things must come to an end. Rafael Nadal’s 17-match win streak on clay was halted on Friday by Dominic Thiem at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, but the Spaniard isn’t hearing alarm bells ringing.
“It’s normal that one day you don't feel perfect. If you are unlucky on that day, the opponent plays unbelievable,” said Nadal. “So tomorrow, I will be in Mallorca fishing or playing golf or doing another thing. That's it.”
After playing nearly flawless tennis to win three straight titles in Monte-Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid, the backlog of matches caught up to Nadal and he wasn’t able to recover from a comparatively off day against Thiem. He acknowledged that the Austrian “was better than me this afternoon,” but quickly shot down speculation that he was conserving energy in pursuit of a 10th title at Roland Garros.
“I never take Monte-Carlo, Barcelona or Rome like preparation,” said Nadal. “Every tournament is so emotional for me. Every tournament is so important. Every tournament by itself is important enough to not consider it like preparation for the other.
“It's obvious that I did not play my best match,” he added. “I have been playing a lot. Madrid and Rome, back-to-back, after playing Barcelona and Monte-Carlo back-to-back, so it’s not easy after playing almost every day for the past four weeks."
Although Nadal was disappointed to not lift the winner’s trophy in Rome for an eighth time, he said he couldn’t have asked for better preparation heading to Paris. Despite the loss to Thiem, his current form makes him the on-paper favourite heading into the second Grand Slam of the year.
“I’m very happy with how I played during these four weeks and now remains Roland Garros,” said Nadal. “I'm going to rest a little bit. I think I deserve that. I’m going to start preparing on Monday or Tuesday for Roland Garros and try to have the best preparation possible.”