TENNIS : Rafael Nadal is determined to rediscover the form that made him the world’s most feared player after crashing out of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at London’s O2 Arena.
Rafael Nadal is determined to rediscover the form that made him the world’s most feared player after crashing out of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at London’s O2 Arena.
The Spaniard became the first player to be eliminated from the lucrative end-of-season tournament after a 6-1 7-6 (7/4) defeat by an inspired Nikolay Davydenko, which followed on from a 6-4 6-4 loss to Robin Soderling on Monday.
Nadal, who has struggled with injury this season and relinquished the world number one spot to Roger Federer, said: “I didn’t arrive at this tournament with the full confidence that you need to win these matches. And in the moments that I had to play well, I didn’t play well. I made mistakes.”
He added: “I fought a lot. Both matches I fought. I tried my best all the time, but it wasn’t enough to win these matches.
“I think mentally I was better. That’s the important thing that I improved a little bit today. Every day I’m trying a little bit more. I am ready to practise hard. I have motivation to play another time my best tennis.
“I think without playing very good tennis in all the matches, I had my chances against the best players of the world.”
Nadal was simply blown away in the first set as Davydenko, aided by some passive play and poor movement by his opponent, fired down a succession of winners.
An enthralling second set saw the Spaniard display something of the form that allowed him to dominate the first five months of the season as he twice fought back from a break down. But Davydenko simply would not give in and he came through a sensational tie-break, clinching a deserved victory in fitting style with another winner.
Meanwhile, Soderling declared there is more to come after his 7-6 (7/5) 6-1 victory over a weary Novak Djokovic ensured he became the first player through to the last four.
Reflecting on his achievement, the 25-year-old said: “It’s great. The top eight, top nine guys in the world are here. I won two matches in straight sets against the world number two and number three. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”