Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal says he is starting to see the fruits of his persistent work on the practice court, noting nothing has changed other than the results he has achieved.
“For months now, I’ve been saying I feel good, that I’m enjoying the competition, the training, that the feeling is different from last year but, if that’s not accompanied by results, they’re just words,” Nadal said on Friday in Madrid.
The Mallorca native said it was “more fun to learn while winning instead of losing”.
“The learning process is the day-to-day, the experiences that you go through throughout your career and in your life in general and, from all that, you take the things that are useful to you and discard the rest,” the 14-time grand slam champion added.
He said all he had done in recent months was work every day in practice with the necessary hope that he could improve after struggling with nerves and anxiety in a difficult 2015 season.
The 29-year-old Nadal did not win any of the four grand slams or nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 events, the first season since 2004 that he had failed to capture any of tennis’ biggest titles.
The Spaniard also lost in the first round of this year’s Australian Open, but bounced back in recent weeks, reaching the semi-finals of last month’s Indian Wells hardcourt event and winning two titles on his favoured clay surface in April: the Monte Carlo Masters and Barcelona Open.
He will compete in next week’s Madrid Open, also a claycourt Masters 1000 tournament, as he continues to make preparations for the French Open, which begins on May 22.
The fifth-ranked Nadal has won Roland Garros nine times, the most singles titles captured by a male player at one grand slam.
The Spaniard has only lost twice at the French Open in his career, but one of those defeats came last year against Serbian world No.1 Novak Djokovic, who will try to win his first Roland Garros title, complete the career grand slam and become just the third man (after Don Budge and Rod Laver) to hold all four major singles titles at the same time.