Rafael Nadal may be facing a turbulent period ahead of the French Open, he believes his performances in Madrid and Rome provided the necessary confidence ahead of his ninth title campaign at Roland Garros.
The French Open top seed began the season with two titles but failed to capture the Australian Open title in January. He would then face a tough streak in March, where he lost at Indian Wells (3rd round) Miami (final) and Monte Carlo (quarter-final). He would then lose once again in Barcelona, before salvaging a lucky win in Madrid when Kei Nishikori retired with a hip injury in the final.
“During the clay court season, I got a little bit better week by week,” Nadal told media at Roland Garros on Friday. “Last week in Rome, it was tough physically. I played a lot of time, but in the end sometimes you need these things.
“I think I played a little bit better during the whole tournament, and especially after the first two rounds. I think it was a positive step for me, and I’m happy with the way that I finished in Madrid and Rome. I’m not that happy about what I did in Monte Carlo and Barcelona, but that’s sport.
“We are here in Roland Garros, and I’m just happy to be back in a place that has given me so much. It’s a very special place for me, and I’m just enjoying the first few days here. Hopefully the weather will be better.”
Nadal will begin his campaign in Paris with a first round match-up against Robby Ginepri.