Sports

Rafael Nadal unconcerned by clay court slump

Madrid, May 13 (Agencies) | Publish Date: 5/13/2019 12:11:32 PM IST

Rafael Nadal says he is unconcerned by his clay court slump after his Madrid Open defeat to Stefanos Tsitsipas.

For Nadal the defeat was his third straight semi-final elimination on clay this season, having failed to reach the final in Monte Carlo and Barcelona - tournaments he had won in the last three consecutive seasons. It is an uncharacteristic streak of poor results for the Spaniard, who hadn’t arrived in Madrid without a title since 2004, but one that isn’t fazing him.
“Tennis is about winning or losing. I’ve won a lot over the years on this surface, but this year it hasn’t been the case. I’ve been really close, but I haven’t been able to win,” Nadal said.
“There’s no need to make any drama or overthink when things are going bad. It is a sport and in a sport it’s a matter of winning and sometimes losing and accepting both as naturally as possible.” Nadal lost to Fabio Fognini in Monte Carlo and Dominic Thiem in Barcelona, and the defeat to the up-and-coming Tsitsipas in Madrid came after a quarter-final win over Stan Wawrinka that Nadal called his best match on clay this season. And although Nadal has won a clay-court title in each of the last 15 seasons and remains the tour’s most successful player on the surface, he believes not making it to tournament finals as often as he has in the past shouldn’t come as a huge surprise.
“It’s more normal what is happening right now than what happened in the last 14 years,” Nadal added.
“I think I have tennis ahead of me. I have time ahead of me. I’ll be able to try to win these tournaments that I was not able to win this year. And what I have to do is to stay fit and to keep playing at a high level.”

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