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Nadal remains upbeat about French Open despite Rome Masters’ exit

Spaniard suffered surprised quarter-finals defeat on Saturday

SAMAA | - Posted: Sep 20, 2020 | Last Updated: 12 months ago
Posted: Sep 20, 2020 | Last Updated: 12 months ago

Photo: AFP

Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal has warned his opponents that he knew how to fix his errors before his French Open title defence.

The current world number three suffered a surprising defeat crashing in the quarter-finals of the Rome Masters on Saturday, the final warm-up before the Roland Garros.

The nine-time Rome winner slumped to a 6-2, 7-5 defeat on a humid night in the Italian capital to Argentine Diego Schwartzman, a player the second seed had beaten in all nine of their previous clashes.

It was Nadal’s last chance to tune-up before his bid for a 13th French Open, and record-equalling 20th Grand Slam to match Roger Federer in just over a week.

“It’s a completely special and unpredictable year,” said the 34-year-old. “I’ll probably go back home and then let’s see what’s going on. I did my job here. I fought until the end. But losing that many serves, you can’t expect to win a match. Something that I have to fix. I know how to do it.”

He continued by saying: “I’m going to keep working and keep practising with the right attitude and try to give me a chance to be ready. I did a couple of things well and other things bad. And that’s it. At least I played three matches.”

The two-time defending champion was making his comeback after a long coronavirus-enforced break having skipped the US Open.

 ‘Good opponent’

Nadal went on to heap praise on his opponent by saying: “After such a long time without competing, I played good two matches, and now today I played a bad one against a good opponent. It was not my night, at all. Then we have to think internally why, how I can fix it.”

Schwartzman, with just three career titles to Nadal’s 85, said he had come close a few times to beating the Spaniard.

“I think four or five times I was close enough to feel like maybe if I play my best tennis I’m going to have chances,” said the world number 15. “Also, he was coming back this tournament after seven months, more or less, eight months. And I was thinking, OK, tennis, sometimes it’s really crazy and I was not playing good, but today maybe I have the chance.”

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