Rafael Nadal has hit a fabulous patch of form as he revs up his preparation for the French Open. In what has been an exhausting few of weeks, Nadal has played 15 matches in the last 4 weeks and won three titles along the way. With questions over his fitness being raised, what did Rafael Nadal say ahead of the Italian Open?
‘It’s logical that after a hard week, I’ve been playing a lot of matches, a lot of hours out there on the court, I feel like it’s sore, a little bit tired’, Rafa said. ‘Because I’m not walking perfectly doesn’t mean I have an injury. I’m just a little bit sore, tight. I’m 31 years old. That’s all. I think I’ve been working well. I’ve done things the way they should be done, the way I think they should have been done.’
‘I try to do things the best possible way, on the court or off the court, without doing anything crazy. When I care about is being happy. I try to do things that make me happy. But I think that I’m working in the right way for quite a long time. Right now the results are there, and that gives me more capacity to keep on doing things. Tomorrow I’ll wake up with joy, and I will want to do things even better. That’s the joy that keeps you going, that keeps you alive.’
This is what Nadal had to say about whether or not he was considering to skip the Italian Open in order to gain some rest ahead of the French Open.
‘Well, it’s difficult, whether to choose one option or another, either going to Italy or not. If I don’t go to Italy, it doesn’t guarantee that I will be better shape in Roland Garros. Not going doesn’t mean that I’m not going to be in good shape in Roland Garros. No matter what you choose, no matter what you do… I try to go day by day. Last year perhaps I made a few mistakes. I made a mistake going to Rome.’
‘But I think I wasn’t wrong last year because my wrist was injured here, then I went to Barcelona to have a checkup. They said everything was fine, my wrist was fine. They said I could go to Rome. After that, I think it was a bad decision. I think today the decision is completely different, the situation is different. I don’t have any problems, any injuries. It’s a very important clay tournament. I’m playing with a lot of joy. I think what is logical is to go to Rome, try to give 100%. After that, I think I have a few days to rest.’
Nadal also spoke about his tough final at the Madrid Masters.
‘It was a tough match since the beginning, especially here in altitude, which is difficult to make breaks against a player like Thiem. Returning the ball is difficult, especially when he hits it so high. Since the beginning, I was playing with a lot of pressure. Fortunately I managed to come back and break. I think he made an error, so I managed to break again. After that, I calmed down. I think I played a good first set. Anything could have happened at the end of the first set. But I think I played well the important points at the end of the first set. I knew at the beginning of the second set, it was going to be very important. Once you finish a first set like that, it’s normal to lower your level a little bit. I had to play well in the second set. I started with a break, so that was very good towards what I had to do after that.’