Rafael Nadal shifts focus to Barcelona tourney

AFP
Published Apr 21, 2015, 6:40 am IST
Updated Mar 29, 2019, 10:15 am IST
Nadal went on to win a ninth French Open last May
Rafael Nadal
 Rafael Nadal
Madrid: Rafael Nadal has a return to winning ways on clay in his sights as he targets a ninth title at the Barcelona Open this week. The Spaniard was beaten in straight sets by World No.1 Novak Djokovic in the semifinals of the Monte Carlo Masters on Saturday, but insisted he was pleased by his progress after a poor start to the year after a long injury layoff in the second half of last season.
 
“For me, it’s a very positive week. The most positive week of the season, without any doubt,” said Nadal. “If I am able to keep doing that in the next tournament in Barcelona, and I have a tough draw, I will say that I am playing very well again.” The 28-year-old was beaten for just the second time in his career in Barcelona last season as a shock defeat to compatriot Nicolas Almagro ended a 41-match winning streak stretching back to 2003.
 
However, despite an unusually unsteady start to his clay campaign, Nadal went on to win a ninth French Open last May. And the king of clay acknowledged that he is approaching the most crucial stretch of his season. “The most important thing, what’s helping me really, is that I have the right motivation to play tennis, the right motivation to work hard every day, and with the right attitude. “That’s why I was able to play better this week than the previous weeks,” added Nadal.
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