World No. 3 Rafael Nadal’s campaign for his first Miami Open title will have to be put on hold for another year, as the Spaniard crashed out of the third round of the tournament with a loss to Fernando Verdasco on Sunday.
It was a timid performance from Nadal, who rallied from a set down to level the match and force a decider. However, he was unable to stop his fellow countryman from breaking serve in the final set to close out the match 6-4, 2-6, 6-3.
In the end, Nadal refused to use his physical condition as a crutch, and instead explained that the issue was with confidence and nerves at the moment.
“It’s not the question of tennis, [It’s] the question of being relaxed enough to play well on court,” the 28 year old said. “Today my game in general improved since a month and a half [ago]. But at the same time, [I’m] still playing with too many nerves for a lot of moments, in important moments.”
Nadal is aware that he has been surrendering matches that were firmly within hi grasp, which is something he plans to work on with his team.
“I have been able to control my emotions during 90 per cent, 95 per cent of my matches of my career… But I’m going to fix it,” he said. “I don’t know if [it’ll be] in one week, in six months, or in one year, but I’m going to do it.
“It’s something that I need to fix for myself and with my team. I need the help of my team, but especially I need the help of myself. That’s what I am trying to do. Nobody’s going to change the situation for you.”
Canadian No. 1 Eugenie Bouchard suffered an even more devastating exit from the tournament, as she lost to qualifier Tatjana Maria 6-0, 7-6 (4). She was broken on five occasions and crashed out of the tournament in embarrassing fashion as the sixth seed in Miami.
“I’m going to take a day off,” Bouchard said, “and then I’m going to practice a lot and try to put this one behind me as soon as possible.”