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Home / Tennis News / Rafa Roundup: “I want to believe that for sure it was a mistake for Maria”

Rafa Roundup: “I want to believe that for sure it was a mistake for Maria”

Rafael Nadal of Spain smiles as he talks to the media during day three of the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Tennis Garden on March 9, 2016 in Indian Wells, California. (March 8, 2016 - Source: Julian Finney/Getty Images North America)

Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images North

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The Spaniard, 29, said he was “a little bit tired” of the rumours, adding: “I am a completely clean guy. I have never had the temptation of doing something wrong.”

Nadal added: “I believe in the sport and the values of the sport. The sport is an example for society. It is an example for the kids and if I am doing something that goes against that, I will be lying to myself, not lying to my opponents.”

Nadal has never failed a drugs test but has been the subject of speculation that he dopes.

“I have been open all my career,” he said. “I never tried to hide nothing that I did. I did PRP and then I did stem cells. The first time with PRP it worked fantastic and the second time it was bad. I had to stop playing tennis for seven months. With stem cells, I used it two times on my knees and it worked very well. I am not doing, never did, and never going to do something wrong.”

Rafael Nadal: “I am 100 percent confident with my team, and at the same time, I know all the things I am taking. It is difficult to imagine that something like this can happen, but everyone can make mistakes. I want to believe that for sure it was a mistake for Maria, that she didn’t want to do it, but it is a result of negligence. But the rules are like this, and it’s fair, and now she must pay for it.

“I am practising hard and happy to be here with time and doing the right things [to prepare],” Nadal said. “I lost two matches at the beginning of the season that I could win and should probably win.

“I feel ready to keep going mentally and physically. I’m excited to be in Indian Wells, a tournament I love so much.”

Let the Rafa rumination begin again: Has a player ever inspired as much head-scratching and handwringing as Rafael Nadal has over the last year? It’s true, though, that he could use a win, or three. He has traditionally done well on the slow courts at Indian Wells, and he counts the event as one of his favorites. But an early loss this year wouldn’t be a shock, and that’s precisely the problem.

The impression is that Rafa Nadal is finding everything just that little bit harder every day…

It’s been 10 years since 2005, when he won his first Grand Slam, but Rafa is in good shape physically. In Rio, against Cuevas, he coped well in the third set of a long, tough match. He still has the desire. Rafa has always been a strategic player, not one who wins points directly with his serve or return. That has changed [in the game]. In Australia, 70 percent of the points were won in four or fewer shots. We have had to adjust. And Rafa was doing it well, we were at a high level in London, Abu Dhabi and Doha… just when this current run started.

What do you think about the talk of Rafa hiring a new coach, or a new coaching team?

Please, I don’t know how often I have to keep saying it… It’s like the book by Vargas Llosa says: The Civilization of Entertainment. Does anyone remember today who John McEnroe’s coach was? No. Here we have a team, a collective responsibility. From the most responsibility to the least, we are Francis Roig, Toni Nadal and Rafa Nadal. Between 2005 and 2014, between us we did a lot of things that worked out well… and that now are not working for whatever reason. We feel that we are close. And we will carry on trying.

It is senseless to suggest, at the age of 29, Rafael Nadal’s career is even close to over. His losses are sensationalised because finally, the mighty king of the clay courts has apparently fallen.

However, if you consider he finished the year as world No.5 with three titles under his belt and clean sweep in the World Tour Finals round robin, 2015 looks like little more than a wobble. Add to that the fact he has had, across a 13-year career, almost two years absent due to injury, and still managed to amass the titles and records he has, you’d realise what a miracle he is.

The start of 2016 hasn’t been ideal, but it hasn’t been wholly disastrous either. Tearing him apart after every less than perfect performance is pointless and crude.

While the thrill of winning is on the table, Rafa will keep on chasing that high. And soon enough, he’ll reach it.

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AUDIO: Nadal on Sharapova: ‘Now she must pay for it’

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