Rafael Nadal says he still has work to do on his game as he gets set to launch his clay-court season which the Spaniard hopes culminates with his ninth French Open title.
“It is great that I am in the top of the race arriving to the clay-court season,” said Nadal.
“But now we start on clay and I need to be 100%. I need to work hard and try to be in better shape for clay.”
World number one Nadal lost in straight sets in the final of the Miami Masters tournament on Sunday to second seed Novak Djokovic.
Djokovic cruised to a 6-3, 6-3 win as he easily dismantled Nadal who has been hampered by a back injury which wrecked his Australian Open bid earlier this year.
Nadal said despite the loss he feels good about having made it to the final in Miami.
His success on clay has earned him the nickname ‘King of Clay’. By winning last year’s French Open, Nadal became the first player to win a single Grand Slam tournament eight times.
‘Clay is something I have actually enjoyed’
Meanwhile, 17-time Grand Slam title winner Roger Federer, who lost to Japan’s Kei Nishikori in the Miami quarters, is looking forward to feeling the clay under his feet.
“I like the changes of continents and surfaces,” said world number four Federer.
“The clay is something I have always actually enjoyed throughout my career. It’s what I grew up playing on. It’s where I played most of my tennis in my career.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 2nd, 2014.