Rafa Nadal refused to make excuses for his shock defeat by Diego Schwartzman in the quarter-finals of the Italian Open, insisting that his focus is now on fine-tuning his game ahead of the French Open which begins Sept 27.
The nine-time Rome champion looked well off the pace in his 6-2 7-5 loss to the 15th-ranked Argentine, an opponent he had defeated nine straight times heading into Saturday’s encounter in the Italian capital.
“We can find excuses, but I didn’t play well enough. Then we have to think internally, ‘Why? How I can fix it?’” the 34-year-old Spaniard told reporters. “Now is not the moment to find excuses. It’s just to accept that I didn’t play well enough.”
“It was not my night. He played a great match, I think, and I didn’t. These things can happen. After such a long time without competing, I played two good matches, and now I played a bad one against a good opponent.
“That’s how it is. I just want to congratulate Diego and I’m going to keep working.”
Nadal, who skipped the US Open in New York due to COVID-19 concerns, said he would regroup before heading to Paris, where he will bid for a record-extending 13th title.
“It’s a completely special and unpredictable year. I probably will go back home and then let’s see what’s going on,” the 19-time Grand Slam champion said.
“I did my job here. I did a couple things well and other things bad. I’m going to keep working and keep practising with the right attitude and try to give myself a chance to be ready.”
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• Press conference
Q. What happened out there? Seemed like an extremely tough uphill match from the start.
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, have been not my night at all. He played a great match, I think. And not me.
So when this happens, you have to lose. These things can happen. After such a long time without competing, I played good two matches, and now today I played a bad one against a good opponent.
That's how it is. I just want to congratulate Diego, and I gonna keep working.
Q. Have you talked about your team about how you will now recover and prepare for the French Open in such a short time between two tournaments?
RAFAEL NADAL: No. Is a completely special year and unpredictable year. I don't know. I probably go back home and then let's see what's going on.
I did my job here. I did a couple things well and other things bad.
And that's it. At least I played three matches. I fighted until the end. But losing that many serves, you can't expect to win a match, no? Something that I have to fix.
I know how to do it. I gonna keep working and keep practicing with the right attitude and try to give me a chance to be ready.
Q. You talked about I think on Monday about the lack of matches. Did that play a factor tonight? Do you still feel like you're missing the amount of matches over these seven months that you hadn't played?
RAFAEL NADAL: We can find excuses, but I didn't play enough well. Then we have to think internally why, how I can fix it.
Now is not the moment to find excuses. Just the moment to accept that I didn't play enough well. Have been a super heavy evening in terms of humidity. Conditions out there was much heavier than the previous days in terms of the bounces of the ball.
For me was difficult to push him back. He did a great job. And even if it's beginning of the match, for me 2-1, Love-30, I played eight terrible points in a row.
So then from a possibility to be 3-1 with break up, I was 3-2 with break down. Everything changed later.
I tried hard in the second, but losing three times the serve in a row, then you need to find for a miracle, no? I did twice, but the third one, even if I was 15-30, was not possible.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports