Rafael Nadal left the Caja Mágica with a bittersweet feeling after losing to Alexander Zverev on Friday in the quarter-finals. Accepting defeat always takes time, but the owner of five Mutua Madrid Open crowns took the positives from the progress made during this year’s tournament.
In his press conference, the Spaniard did not hide that his feelings after the match were “negative because it’s an important week for me, one that excites me and a lot of positive things had happened in training and in previous matches”.
“I feel that I have made progress but, when you move forward, you can take a step backwards and I think that’s what happened today”, admitted the first seed at the third ATP Masters 1000 this season.
Nadal was also critical of his performance. “Things started in the same way as previous matches, but in the moment of truth, the times when I had to take the set, I did everything wrong, making several mistakes”, said the world No. 2.
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— #MMOPEN (@MutuaMadridOpen) May 7, 2021
The player from Manacor made no excuses about his loss, pointing out that in the conditions in Madrid, “playing against someone like Zverev, who puts you under pressure by serving at 135 mph, I have to hit the ball six metres behind the line, even there I’m hitting it very high above my shoulder and that’s why only my best game is good enough”.
“Zverev is a good player, congratulations to him on the win, but the negative side is that, having been the better player in the first set, I lost when it’s normally the other way round, winning sets where I’ve been the worst”, offered the 20-time Grand Slam champion.
Nadal acknowledged that he felt “sad about the defeat because it was an opportunity for me that I have let slip and I’ll work to have another one next week”, adding that “you can progress through the clay swing, so we’ll see what happens now because the goal before Roland Garros is winning in Rome”.