Carlos Moya believes Rafael Nadal’s plans for Roland Garros have not been affected by his defeat to Dominic Thiem in the Madrid quarter-finals on Friday and has sent out a reminder to the world that his charge is “human” after all.
Nadal saw his 50-set, 21-match winning streak on clay come to an end at the hands of Thiem at the Caja Magica on Friday – in a clash that saw a nervy Nadal commit 29 unforced errors.
Thiem dominated the world No. 1 throughout the match, as Nadal looked out of ideas as to how he could stop the on-fire Austrian.
Nadal’s bulldozing form on clay over the past 12 months meant that he only lost more than four games just once in 50 consecutive sets on the surface. So it is understandable that his 7-5, 6-3 loss to Thiem came as a surprise to many.
“This is sport. The people take a lot of things for granted. They only see the player, they don’t see the human being,” Moya, Nadal’s coach, told Sport360 in Madrid.
“Everybody is hesitating, everybody is going through these situations where they can get nervous. He was nervous a few times in the past year but somehow he found the way to turn things around and today he wasn’t able to, also because of the opponent, he played very well and that’s it.”
Moya admits that Nadal was feeling nervous ahead of the match and even signs of it during the Mallorcan’s warm-up earlier in the day.
“Warm-up today was not really good. I try not to give importance to the way he’s warming up in the morning but today we’ve been on court a bit longer than expected because I saw that he was a bit nervous and his match today, he wasn’t feeling comfortable the way he played,” confessed Moya.
“I felt that in the morning but still so many times he didn’t warm-up properly and then the quality of the match was very good and the other way around, sometimes the warm-up was very good and the match not so good.”
Nadal heads straight to Rome where he is the top seed. He was drawn to potentially face Thiem in the quarter-finals once again, which would be a rematch of last year’s showdown between them at the same stage in the Italian capital.
Despite Nadal’s shaky form on Friday, Moya isn’t worried about their Roland Garros plans.
“I don’t think so, not for us at least,” he said when asked if this was a setback ahead of Nadal’s title defence in Paris.
“Maybe for the opponents they are going to realise that they can have a chance to beat him, we are aware of that. But we knew it was going to be very difficult to win all the tournaments on clay.
“We knew this could happen, it happened last year in Rome and then he played amazing tennis in the French Open. So I don’t think this is going to be a step back on his preparation for Paris.”
Nadal lost to Thiem in the Rome quarters last year then won a 10th Roland Garros title, without dropping a set.
The Spaniard swept all three clay Masters 1000 events (Monte Carlo, Madrid, Rome) in the same season just once in his career, back in 2010.
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