The top seed, who opens his Rome campaign against either Fernando Verdasco or Damir Dzumhur, was on a 50-set, 21-match winning streak on clay heading into his match against Thiem, before the Austrian halted his progress.
Nadal dismissed the notion that he could now have less pressure in Paris in two weeks’ time now that the burden of the streak is no longer there.
“If it’s less pressure for me?” Nadal quizzed a reporter.
“I really don’t care. Of course will be much better to have the full pressure because I won all the matches.
“These kind of things… I don’t know if you understand a little bit about the sport in general but you know, after 14 years being in the position that I’ve been fighting for important things. I can lose, I can win, but of course the loss last week is not going to help me for Roland Garros and of course the defeat of last week will not go against my possibilities in Roland Garros.
“That’s the real thing in my opinion. But of course it’s better to win all the matches, not because I won more I have more pressure. Normally it’s the opposite, when you win more you have less pressure.”
Targeting an eighth title at the Foro Italico in Rome, Nadal can move back to No. 1 in the world if he wins the trophy. He assures his sole focus is currently on this current tournament, despite the fact that Roland Garros is just around the corner.
“I’m here to play and then I’m going to try to win. That’s the real thing. I never considered any of these events like a preparation for another one. I never approached not one event like an approach for Roland Garros. Every tournament is very important in itself and for me even more because I have a great story in all these events,” said the 31-year-old.
“I won here seven times and for me it’s very special always to play here in these tournaments. I can win Roland Garros losing here, and I can win Roland Garros winning here. I don’t think what’s going to happen here is going to have a big impact on what can happen in two weeks, but there’s one thing that is 100 per cent sure: I’m not thinking about Roland Garros when I’m here, I’m thinking only about Rome.”
Nadal’s most recent title in Rome came in 2013. He was runner-up to Novak Djokovic in 2014, and fell at the quarter-final stage in each of the last three years.
Tennis champ Roger Federer was on hand to open a new Rolex boutique in Dubai Mall.
The 36-year-old, set to regain his world number one status tomorrow, is currently skipping the clay season to make sure he’s in tip-top shape for the upcoming Wimbledon championships. Federer, a 20-time Grand Slam champion, is enjoying some downtime in the UAE before heading to the UK to defend his title in July.
Located in the Fashion Avenue wing, the latest extension of the Dubai Mall, the new store is the largest Rolex shop in the world. Inside the three-floor retail space customers can visit the Rolex Experience, an area encapsulating the brand and its history with the upper level dedicated solely to the discovery of the brand. It also features digital screens showing the Rolex heritage, watches, manufacture process. There’s also a screening room, exhibition space, reception area and lounge.
“We are honoured to partner with Rolex on this major endeavour that represents a landmark for our retail operation which, over half a century, has grown from a single shop in Souk Bur Dubai to more than 65 watch boutiques across the UAE, including five Rolex Boutiques and 12 points of sale in Dubai. The latest Rolex Boutique will showcase Rolex watches in spectacular surroundings,” said Abdul Hamied Ahmed Seddiqi, Vice Chairman of Seddiqi Holding.
The Swiss company, headquartered in Geneva, was founded by Hans Wilsdorf in 1905 and pioneered the development of the wristwatch, including producing the first waterproof wristwatch, launched in 1926.
Before she begins her title defence in Rome this week, we put Elina Svitolina to the test last week at the Mutua Madrid Open, to find out how well she knows her fellow top-eight seeds.
Turns out the Ukrainian’s player trivia skills are just as impressive as her performances on the court.