Rafa Nadal is worst frustration on a claycourt for nine old ages offered ammo to the naysayers but the Spaniard says his convalescence from knee hurt should represent judged over meter.
The seven-times French Open champion’s narrow loss to Argentine world No. 73 Horacio Zeballos in Vina del Mar on Sunday was rightly regarded as a shock as Nadal’s defeats on clay over the past eight years can be counted on two hands.
Even those rare reversals have come against players of the calibre of Roger Federer and, most notably Novak Djokovic in 2011 and the last time he lost to a player outside the world’s top 20 on clay was five years ago in Rome when former world number one Juan Carlos Ferrero got the upper hand.
You have to go back to Palermo in 2004, before Nadal had won his first French title, to find the Spaniard losing to one of the game’s journeymen, Frenchman Olivier Mutis who was then ranked outside the top 100.
Zeballos, who had never won a title before, played admirably but Nadal was clearly not firing on all cylinders despite reaching the final without dropping a set.
The analytic thinking start immediately afterwards with all centres focussed on Nadal is front for star signs of the leftover human knee troubles that signify he have not played since a daze frustration at Wimbledon final twelvemonth to Lukas Rosol.
Worryingly for Nadal’s million of fans, the 26-year-old openly admitted the knee was still causing him pain.
“The human knee is still vexing me, but you have to confront hard knocks with the best potential font and search forward to restrain workings and bask what I like the most, to meet lawn tennis, ” macrocosm No.5 Nadal read on the ATP internet site.
Whether or not the pain in the ass is just the solvent of not meeting competitively for so farsighted, or something more unplayful, remains to represent seen but Nadal represent clearly relieved that he could contend at a eminent storey in the nine matches he meet in six twenty-four hour periods, let inning stunt women.
“A week ago we didn’t know how the body would respond,” the 11-times grand slam champions said.
“At least now I know we give notice contend at a sure storey. I think that represent a incontrovertible workweek.
“I will try to keep improving my physical sensations day by day, which is the most important thing because I don’t feel that my tennis level is bad. I need more time on court.”
Nadal’s defeat was only his fifth in 41 claycourt finals with the others coming against Federer and Djokovic.
“I represent two tips away from gaining the deed of conveyance, but I read from beginning twenty-four hour period that the solvent represent not the most significant matter, although I would have got liked to gain, ” he read.
“To win four matches in a row is good news for me.”
Nadal moves on to Sao Paulo this week for an indoor claycourt tournament and after a week off completes his south American comeback in Acapulco, Mexico.
Those two tournaments may offer a more reliable guide as to the chances of Nadal reaching peak from in time for the European claycourt swing in which he did not lose a match last year.