Rome Masters: Rafael Nadal happy with form with potential Djokovic clash looming
Rafael Nadal said Tuesday that he is in confident mood ahead of his first match of the Rome Masters, despite his semi-final defeat to Andy Murray in Madrid last week.
Rome, Italy: Rafael Nadal said on Tuesday that he is in confident mood ahead of his first match of the Rome Masters, despite his semi-final defeat to Andy Murray in Madrid last week.
The seven-time champion insisted that he is focusing solely on his second-round clash with Philipp Kohlschreiber on Wednesday, and not looking forward to a possible quarter-final against Novak Djokovic.
"I'm not playing Novak tomorrow. I'm going to play against (Philipp) Kohlschreiber. He's playing great. He won in Munich couple of weeks okay and played semi-finals in Barcelona too," fifth seed Nadal said.
"He's playing well and he's a very good player on clay. I am worried about that now."
Nadal won titles last month in Monte Carlo and Barcelona to start his pre-French Open clay campaign in the best possible way.
"My game is good, three tournaments, two victories (Monte Carlo, Barcelona), one semi-final. Tough tournaments, good victories, good matches. If I'm not happy now, I don't know when I gonna be happy," he said, after a training session on the Italian clay that plays similar to that of Roland Garros.
Kohlschreiber has just a single win over Nadal - on the grass in Halle - against 13 losses to the Spaniard, with six of them coming on clay.
The 26th-ranked German beat Spain's Inigo Cervantes in the Rome first round 6-4, 6-2.
Madrid winner Djokovic hopes he can maintain his excellent form this week as the French Open, the only Grand Slam title that has eluded him so far in his career, draws closer.
"I'm just hoping I can carry on the high quality of performances I have had throughout the week in Madrid and also this week in Rome, find that freshness and get as far as I can," the world number one said.
"Once I step on the court, I don't know how to pace myself. I'm on the court to get the job done, to try to win.
"It would be disrespectful to the tournament and to all the people that come to watch you that, if you are thinking of some other tournament that's ahead of you. So that's not in my mind."
The Japanese superstar who lit the Olympic cauldron defeated 52nd-ranked Zheng Saisai of China 6-1, 6-4 on Sunday in her first match in nearly two months.
The 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz swept past 35-year-old Richard Gasquet of France 6-2, 6-2 in the final in Umag.
Norway's Casper Ruud has become the first player since Andy Murray in 2011 to win three ATP titles in as many weeks.