Exhausted Nadal “at the limit” at season’s end

October 29th, 2008 - 4:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Rafael NadalParis, Oct 29 (DPA) World number one Rafael Nadal admitted that he is at the limit of his strength as he approaches the end of the tennis season, in which he is still to face the challenge of winning his first-ever Masters Cup and the final of the Davis Cup.”I am a little bit at the limit, I am bit short of strength,” Nadal told Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA).

The Spaniard who is at the Paris Masters, season’s last Masters Series tournament, will begin his campaign Wednesday against Frenchman Florent Serra.

“We are in a very bad state,” Nadal’s uncle and coach Toni Nadal told DPA.

“It is the last effort, I hope to be able to get to the rest of it better prepared,” the world no. 1 said.

Nadal, 22, noted he feels worse than he did precisely 12 months earlier.

Alongside his good friend the Argentine Juan Monaco, the Spaniard beat locals Nicolas Mahut and Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-2, 6-4 Tuesday, in the first round of the doubles tournament in Paris.

Following a total of 90 matches - with 80 wins and 10 defeats - Nadal can be proud of a season in which he lifted eight trophies including those at the French Open and Wimbledon, and the Olympic gold medal in Beijing.

Nadal’s “crucial” season though runs from March-September i.e. from Indian Wells to the US Open, his uncle explained.

“As of now you go to tournaments to cover holes. We are going to do the best we can, knowing that there are two tournaments left which, of course, do not come at a good time for Rafael,” said the man who shaped the champion’s tennis from his childhood.

The game and the physical buildup of Nadal and of his predecessor as world number one Roger Federer are different, the coach explained.

“Federer has got to the Masters and won it. Perhaps because of his game Rafael gets more tired,” he said.

Following his performance at the Paris Masters - a tournament that is a must to get to the $1.5-million bonus that the ATP grants at the end of the season - Nadal is set to fly to Shanghai next Tuesday.

When he is done in China, he is scheduled to board another plane, to travel to Buenos Aires via Munich. He will play the Davis Cup final against Argentina from Nov 21-23 in the Argentine city of Mar del Plata.

Two weeks ago, Nadal was eliminated in the Madrid Masters by the Frenchman Gilles Simon, in a game in which he appeared tired both physically and mentally.

“He is under an obligation to play, because he is playing in a tour in which, if you rank them, Madrid is one of the tournaments he would most like to win in the season,” Toni said.

“I know it is not comparable, but for him (Rafael) the victory in Madrid is one of the best memories of his professional life. But you reach a limit. Like (cyclist Miguel) Indurain at the Vuelta (Tour of Spain), when he had already done the Giro (d’Italia) and the Tour (de France) and he did not perform there so well,”he said.

Achievements and the subsequent fame play against Nadal’s calm and game. Last week, for instance, he missed three days of training, partly because he travelled to the northern Spanish city of Oviedo for a prizegiving ceremony.

“We could not train well for a week, because we missed three days. So it is obvious for us not to play very well,” Toni said .

He though sees his nephew in a better shape for the Davis Cup final.

“I think Shanghai is going to be a more complicated challenge. I hope he plays well in the Davis Cup. You are there with a team,” he said.

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