‘Focused’ Rafael Nadal Determined To Make Up For Lost Opportunity At The French Open
The first seven days couldn’t have gone any better for Rafael Nadal and his quest for an historic tenth title at the French Open.
Yet to drop a set in the tournament, Nadal’s latest triumph occurred against compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut in the fourth round on Sunday. Against the 17th seed, he dropped a total of five games during his dominating 6-1, 6-2, 6-2, performance. The Spaniard produced a total of 31 winners compared to 23 unforced errors.
“I played against a very good player, and I was able to win in straight sets with a very positive result. So I’m happy for that.” Said Nadal.
“I Probably I didn’t play as well as I did the other day, but I still played well.” He added.
The dominant performance continues Nadal’s almost flawless record on the clay this season. Since April, he has won has won 22 out of the 23 matches he has played on the surface. His only blip was against Dominic Thiem in Rome. The winning run is somewhat different to last year when Nadal struggled with a troublesome wrist injury that forced him to withdraw from his ‘favourite tournament.’
“ Last year for me was an opportunity lost. That’s all. It was an opportunity lost because I felt that I was playing well.” He reflected.
Despite his woes due to injury, this year has only been about resurgence for the 31-year-old. He currently leads the ATP Race to London, winning more points than any other player so far on the tour this season. His nearest rival, Roger Federer, is almost 900 behind him.
Nadal’s surge occurs alongside the support of friend Carlos Moya, who was added to his team at the start of the year. Like Nadal, he is a former world No.1 and French Open champion. Over the years the two have formed a close bond, which is making their collaboration one for others to admire.
Carlos is a very positive incorporation for me. First of all, he is a very good friend, person that I have a lot of confidence with him and he has confidence with me.
There is no doubt about what Nadal’s primary focus of the season is – to win a tenth French Open title. No player in the history of the sport has won the same grand slam ten times. It seems like it is written in the stars for the world No.4, who has already grabbed his tenth title at both Monte Carlo and Barcelona this year. The prospect of the historic accomplishment is mouthwatering to think about, but still a grounded Nadal refuses to get ahead of himself.
“I am focused on every day. Now I am happy about what happened today. I am excited that I have one day off now, and then I gonna try to be 100% ready for the day after tomorrow.” He said ahead of the quarter-final.
“(The) only way to keep having chances is to play my best. That’s what I’m going to focus on.”
Heading into the second week in Paris, the pressure will mount as Nadal’s faces tougher opposition. On the other hand, he has stormed into the last eight, dropping only 20 games (an average of 5 games per match).
“This week was very positive. My level was good throughout the match. I won quite easily. Therefore, this has given me quite a lot of confidence. I have the impression I’m doing things well. I’m on the right track.” He said.
Nine-time champion Nadal will play Pablo Carreno Busta in the quarter-finals on Tuesday.