Nadal not confident of his chances
Rafael Nadal, the world No. 1, five-time French Open champion and all-time battler has decided to bare his soul at Roland Garros this week, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
Nadal moved a step closer to a sixth French Open final Monday with a straight sets win over Ivan Ljubicic, 7-5 6-3 6-3. On paper, this seems quite good. In Nadal's mind, it is not very good at all.
"No, seriously, I am not confident," he said. "I am not playing enough well to win this tournament."
And then there was this: "The thing is you have to be realist, and today I'm not playing enough well to win this tournament."
And this: "I have to hit the ball with a little bit more conviction, in my opinion," he said. "For moments I am playing a few good points, but after I have few bad points."
And this: "I won four times already here, five times already here. I don't have an obligation to win six. I going to try for sure, but... " He trailed off.
On Saturday, when he scored another straight-sets victory, he was asked about what it takes to stay at the top in a sport with such a long season and demanding competition.
"I [am] almost 25, but seems like I am playing for 100 years here on the tour," he said. "Sometimes it's like work. And, in my opinion, tennis is not work. Is passion. Is different — the perspective, in my opinion, is different. With this calendar and with these rankings all the time, it's like work."
If this harsh introspection sounds different from the guy who has owned Roland Garros in recent years, it is because he rarely exhibited any flaw that would call for self-criticism in Paris.
But there is no arguing with Nadal's self-assessment now. So far this tournament, he has not been close to the dominating claycourt supremo who has twice won this event without losing a set.